Motoring history


The early days of the motor car

3 mins. 53 secs
A great short film showing the excitement of early motor cars and the problems that early drivers had to endure.

Delivering the mail at the turn of the century

1 min. 26 secs.
This early film shows the "commercial" horse drawn carriages which were used to deliver the mail in rural areas at the very beginning of the 20th century.

Reenactment of Henry Ford building his motorised quadricycle in the 1890s

1 min. 49 secs
Excellent educational film showing how Henry Ford made his quadricyle in a small shed near his home in 1896. The success of the vehicle pushed him to build his first fully working car a few years later.

Automobile parade in New York City, 1899

1 min. 1 sec.
Extremely early film of an automobile parade in New York City featuring a number of the still largely experimental cars being built by largely enterprising companies all across the US.

Early Paris street scenes, 1900s

3 mins. 11 secs      
Very rare film footage from the streets of Paris at the turn of the century. These were still the days before the motor car so it was only horse-drawn carriages on the famous streets.

The early days of owning a car

2 mins. 44 secs.      
A brief entertaining film which shows the excitement that early drivers had on the road.

Market Street, San Francisco, early 1900s

8 mins. 57 secs.       
Another fascinating look at life at the very beginning of the 20th century. Here, on the famous Market Street in San Francisco, pedestrians, trams, cyclists, horse drawn carriages, as well as a small number of early automobiles all vie for the same road space in a road which then has very little traffic control.

Lower Broadway, New York City, 1903

1 min. 49 secs.        
Outstanding footage of a busy, bustling Lower Broadway in New York City at the very beginning of the 20th Century and before the arrival of automobiles on the streets. Instead, there's plenty of trams, pedestrrians, horse drawn carriages and horse and carts.

The beginning of Ford in Europe

1 min. 3 secs         
Excellent period film from the end of the 1890s onwards showing the earliest Ford cars built in Britain and the city streets they were introduced to.

Theodore Roosevelt in San Francisco, 1906

2 mins. 33 secs           
A film made of Theodore Roosevelt touring San Francisco in an open top carriage in 1903. This is the first film recording ever of a US president "on the road". It also gives other Americans at the time their first ever opportunity to see life in the golden state.

Cavalcade of Ford cars, 1927

1 min. 11 secs
Parade of Ford's best known cars up to the late 1920s, including Henry Ford's original quadricycle which he inspects here himself.

Automobiles around the world, 1928

9 mins. 37 secs.
Fascinating global travelogue which shows 1920s cars in locations across the globe. This film was probably the most ambitious and expensive motoring movie project ever undertaken at the time as it shows a rich assortment of automobiles in locations from major cities to the wilds of Africa. Of particular interest are the city scenes of the period and streets where horse and carts still shared the roadway with the "modern" motor  cars. An absolute must for any serious car historian.

Hollywood and the Model T, 1920s

1 min. 11 secs      
Short slapstick comedy film showing Hollywood comedians "playing" with the Model T.

At home with Henry Ford

2 mins. 52 secs      
A collection of "home movies" showing Henry Ford working and relaxing at his home with his family and friends. The film also briefly features Thomas Edison.

Celebrating the one millionth Ford V8

1 min. 15 secs        
Film of Ford's celebrations for the building of its one millionth V8 car. It includes the Ford production line as well as Henry and Edsel Ford.

Celebration for the 15 million Ford car, 1927

1 min. 16 secs       
A film to mark the Ford motor company producing its 15 millionth car. A special car was produced for the historic occasion and Henry Ford and his son Edsel were also involved in the special celebrations that followed.

Celebration for the 20 millionth Ford car, 1931

2 mins. 10 secs.     
Historically important marketing film made to celebrate the making of Ford's 20 millionth motor car at the beginning of the 1930s. It shows the special car itself on a tour across the country, being feted everywhere it goes.

Detroit in the 1920s

1 min. 1 sec.        
Detroit, the motor city, enjoyed the great boom in car production more than any other and this brief film from the 1920s shows different parts of the city's skyline and bustling streets of the period.

Display of Ford cars, 1935

1 min. 20 secs.    
Musical parade featuring many of the most popular Ford cars which were built in the early years of the 20th Century.

Old time cars on parade, 1946

1 min. 6 secs      
An entertaining newsreel from after the war which shows a parade of old-time automobiles celebrating 50 years of the motor car. A range of great old cars are on display.

Ford in Egypt, 1948

1 min. 26 secs.      
A brief tour of Ford's main operations in North Africa in the late 1940s, focusing on Egypt.

Ford in England, 1948

2 mins. 21 secs      
Brief tour of the Ford plant at Dagenham near London at the end of the 1940s.

Ford in India and Singapore, 1948

2 mins. 8 secs.    
A brief tour of Ford's main Asian operations at the end of the 1940s -focusing in particular on Singapore and India.

Ford in Mexico, 1948

1 min. 36 secs     
A brief tour of Ford's Mexico's car operations in the late 1940s.

Ford in Canada, 1948

1 min. 55 secs.       
A brief tour of Ford's main Canadian plant at Windsor, near Toronto, in the late 1940s.