Martin Hartzold, bookseller

Generalist concern with specialties in post-War automobilia, vernacular photography, and the Midwest. A few items presented here, though most material offered via periodic e-lists and catalogs sent directly to our email list.

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  • SLICK 50 [Massive, 12ft. Screen Print Poster]

SLICK 50 [Massive, 12ft. Screen Print Poster]

2,000.00
SLICK50.jpg

SLICK 50 [Massive, 12ft. Screen Print Poster]

2,000.00

*This is difficult to photograph. Shown here is our display of the poster at the 2019 Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair. Please email us if you’d like to see additional images.*

A massive silkscreen print in reflective inks advertising the engine oil additive Slick 50. Developed by oil industry executive John Bishop, the product made a memorable and controversial impression on the automotive scene in the late 1980's with a series of advertisements showing an engine running at full power without any oil after Slick 50 had been added to the crankcase and allowed to coat the interior components. 

This impressive poster would appear to be from the early years of Bishop's development of Slick 50 when it was marketed via a multi-layer approach reliant on independent sales agents. One such agent, a Henry Droll of Tiffin, Ohio (from whose estate this was acquired by us), collected, refurbished, and sold antique "hit-and-miss" engines, displaying them at local fairs and community events where he would drain their oil after having added Slick 50 and keep it running dry to the amazement of would be buyers. The firm and Bishop appear to have enjoyed massive success in these early years resulting in a handsome sale of the formula and trade name to Quaker State. The emergence on the national market appears to have revealed shortcomings in the product’s ability to perform as claimed as the FTC settled a significant class action suit for its seemingly spurious claims in 1997. The product is still marketed (albeit less ambitiously) today and Bishop appears to publicly maintain the integrity of his original formula. A bit of inside engine oil baseball here, to be sure, but what remains is this tour-de-force of printmaking, a wholly impractical artistic and marketing relic of American excess amid the booming Houston oil industry in the 1980’s (produced in an unknown, though almost certainly minuscule edition). 

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*This is difficult to photograph. Shown here is our display of the poster at the 2019 Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair. Please email us if you’d like to see additional images.*

A massive silkscreen print in reflective inks advertising the engine oil additive Slick 50. Developed by oil industry executive John Bishop, the product made a memorable and controversial impression on the automotive scene in the late 1980's with a series of advertisements showing an engine running at full power without any oil after Slick 50 had been added to the crankcase and allowed to coat the interior components. 

This impressive poster would appear to be from the early years of Bishop's development of Slick 50 when it was marketed via a multi-layer approach reliant on independent sales agents. One such agent, a Henry Droll of Tiffin, Ohio (from whose estate this was acquired by us), collected, refurbished, and sold antique "hit-and-miss" engines, displaying them at local fairs and community events where he would drain their oil after having added Slick 50 and keep it running dry to the amazement of would be buyers. The firm and Bishop appear to have enjoyed massive success in these early years resulting in a handsome sale of the formula and trade name to Quaker State. The emergence on the national market appears to have revealed shortcomings in the product’s ability to perform as claimed as the FTC settled a significant class action suit for its seemingly spurious claims in 1997. The product is still marketed (albeit less ambitiously) today and Bishop appears to publicly maintain the integrity of his original formula. A bit of inside engine oil baseball here, to be sure, but what remains is this tour-de-force of printmaking, a wholly impractical artistic and marketing relic of American excess amid the booming Houston oil industry in the 1980’s (produced in an unknown, though almost certainly minuscule edition).