Home » Enjoy This Graphic Design Masterpiece From A French Truck Maker: Cold Start

Enjoy This Graphic Design Masterpiece From A French Truck Maker: Cold Start

Cs Berliet1

Are you familiar with the French truck maker Berliet? Sure you are, you probably have plans to buy one for your grandparent or children for the holidays, right? I figured you’d be a Berliet-head, which is why I think you’ll especially enjoy the fantastic and bold graphic design seen in this 1961 brochure. We can start with that incredible, comic-book-feeling cutaway drawing there, complete with an amazing hinged grille. Also, a big, burly five-cylinder engine! Also, the company’s logo looks like an round-bottom flask placed in a cone or something.

Also, look at this charming-ass illustration:

Cs Berliet 1

Can you take this much charm so early? Probably not. This is pretty intense charmium right there, with that late-Matisse torn-paper look. I love it.

And look at the cover; someone isn’t afraid of color:

Cs Berliet3

Ugh. It’s all so good.

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33 Responses

  1. I love how they mix real photography and a drawing. Reminds me of when acid kicked in at the wrong time at the wrong place (driving when your mind is melting in front of San Antonio’s police academy).

    1. You have to remember this a society that convinxes jids to drink at like 6 years old. Drinks from noon on, needs a nap in the afternoon because passed out. Yeah enjoyable pics but now we know why. LOL

      1. You have to remember this a society that convinxes jids to drink at like 6 years old. Drinks from noon on, needs a nap in the afternoon because passed out. Yeah enjoyable pics but now we know why. LOL

        Ever been there? If not you should go. It’s a beautiful country and while there were a few exceptions I found most of the people wonderful, certainly no more obnoxious on average than you’d find in America.

        Speaking of obnoxious it would help if you don’t go around demanding they lick your boots “because ‘Murica had to come over and rescue their fat, lazy, cheese eating surrender monkey butts from the Germans…TWICE!”

        (Also worth pointing out that whole siesta thing is a hell of a good idea, especially when it’s hot enough to risk heat stroke otherwise.)

    2. Or sitting in the back set of a friends dad’s 1969 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible on the freeway going to Chicago for a Led Zeppelin concert and said friend, who is driving, says the lamp posts in the meridian are melting. Ahem: hey Jeff please pull over and let me drive.

  2. Very small me was obsessed with Berliet trucks just like this one. Really obsessed in ways that, had I not been three years old, would have led to some pretty intensive therapy. I nagged my parents to take me to the home of these magical machines, and having got my wish ( that my grandmothers family all lived in Normandy may have been a factor ) I bounced with joy every time I identified a Berliet, which was often, as they made a lot of trucks, and buses and even street cleaning machines.
    The reason for this bizarre enthusiasm? For my third birthday the aforementioned and very generous French grandmother had given me a magnificent present, a toy traveling circus with many many vehicles, all of which were, as you might have guessed, Berliet trucks. There might have been some animals and other stuff too, but my sister played with them later.

    PS. I think the whole wonderful thing was probably a promotional giveaway for Berliet dealers. Possibly around the same time as this brochure.

  3. This is great. I don’t even speak French and I can read a lot of it. Silence is well, silence. Economie is economy. Souplesse is soup lease (according to my spell check). I think they misspelled puissance.

    1. As I was attempting to install a ceiling fan, I needed the directions. The English was so mangled, I could not fathom what they were trying to convey. I don’t speak, read, or write French, but I was able to follow the French language directions far better than the munged English.

  4. If you like that hinged grille, I’d like to introduce you to the Mack C model, which had both a butterfly hood *and* hinged fenders. The thing opened up like a transformer for really easy access for maintenance. https://twitter.com/macktrucks/status/601365380561510400
    The U-model was kind an interim truck between the end of the B model and the start of R model production, but focused on giving the states that had just enacted a 55 foot overall length limit a truck that could haul a 40 foot trailer.

  5. Berliet’s logo is actually a stylized locomotive, despite Berliet never having a railroad division. Here’s what the Berliet Fundation says about the logo (auto-translated from French with minor corrections): “In 1905, the reputation of Berliet chassis had already crossed borders. In the United States, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), which manufactures locomotives, wishes to diversify into automobile construction. The president of ALCO Mr. PITKIN chooses Berliet cars whose power, solidity and endurance best meet American requirements. He offered Marius Berliet the purchase of the license to manufacture 4 automobiles against the cash payment of 500,000 gold francs, the supply of cast and forged parts, the construction of a factory in the state of Rhode Island and the payment of royalties. The contract was signed on July 1 , 1905 for 3 years. This sum allows Marius Berliet to purchase and set up the equipment necessary for mass production. It is thanks to her that Automobiles M. Berliet began its extraordinary growth. The logo of an American locomotive appears on the Berliet catalogs from 1906 in testimony to this providential contract!”

  6. Now I’m missing some mostly lost memory of an animation with that type of art in it. It was probably something dirty I saw when I was too young at the University Theater in Berkeley when they were doing an animation all day thing. Way before Spike and Mike. Early 70s… Probably the same festival where I saw the line art animation of … wait. That is WAY too dirty for a car site.

  7. Funny thing, that logo originally depicted an american locomotive from ALCO.

    The company bought a licence for 3 models of Berliet Automobiles in 1905 which helped the french company to expand its activities. The new logo replaced the initials MB (for Marius Berliet) in 1907. The simplified version seen here appeared in 1959 and was used until the end in 1980. Berliet was absorbed by Renault in 1975 and merged with their truck and bus branch SAVIEM in 1978 to form Renault Véhicules Industriels, nowadays Renault Trucks (owned by Volvo Trucks).

  8. Love these drawings. Off topic, the other morning I was reading a fictional story by Jason. As it was way to early to enjoy, I went to another article until the coffee kicked in. When I looked for it later on- it was missing! I’d like another go at it Jason. Where did it go?

  9. I knew about Berliet from a late 60s library book showing a Berliet Lorry, which I thought was a model name, until.I learned it was a British book and they speak a foreign language. Berliet was owned by Citroën in the 60s and early 70s before being absorbed into Renault. Berliet’s final class 8 cab (a tilt cab by then) was used on Renault heavy trucks and the Ford Transcontinental while medium duty trucks used the Club of Four cab inherited from Saviem. We got those as the Mack Midliner.

  10. Saw “boit de vitesses monobloc”.Thought it was referring to high speed brakes (which are obviously weak drum brakes)
    The fun you can have if you dont know the language.

  11. That flask on a triangle is their logo? I thought it was just some weird Gallic version of a bullet point symbol.

    And now I’ll spend the day wondering why no American manufacturer offered a commercial truck with a magic motor. What the hell? Fancy Europeans, looking down on us with their enchanted engines!

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