HVA launches “Drive History” video series by profiling Ford’s 15 millionth Model T

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Photo by Historic Vehicle Association

Most likely, we won’t be seeing exciting new concepts or gorgeous design studies on car show floors for a while. However, in the midst of global health crisis, the rich history of the automobile is a pleasant distraction as well as a heartening reminder of what humankind has the capacity to endure. The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) commemorates vehicles that have stood silent witness to both the worst moments in history—pandemics, wars, and economic depressions—and some of our triumphs, like landing on the moon and advancing equal voting rights in America.

The National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR) honors vehicles from an Apollo 12 astronaut’s Corvette Stingray and the first lowrider to the first Indy 500 winner and a VW Bus that was a foot soldier in the Civil Rights movement. This register was started in 2013 when the HVA collaborated with the U.S. Department of the Interior to document and appropriately recognize important vehicles in American History.

Though you can’t see the cars in the metal right now, all that history just became a bit more accessible. Today, the HVA just launched a weekly video series called Drive History, which started with a profile of the 15 millionth Ford Model T. Future videos, rolling out every Wednesday for the rest of the year, will feature other vehicles in the NHVR and showcase the voices of veteran preservationists, historians, and automotive experts.

The six-minute video released today is the first in a four-part series on the venerable Ford Model T. Lest you think the series is only for hardcore fans of prewar vehicles, Part 1: A Motorcar for the Multitudes provides some fascinating observations about the 1920s. For example, when the Model T first rolled onto the streets in 1908, America hadn’t fully transitioned into a society powered by petroleum-based energy. In addition to horses and horse-drawn carriages, Model Ts shared the road with steam-powered and electric vehicles, not to mention herds of bicycles.

The HVA also demystifies the era; though we might imagine the Model T was the first “real” car, and Ford Motor Company the first “legitimate” manufacturer, that’s not the case. The first automobiles were available to (upper-crust) consumers in the 1890s, and one of the brilliant points of the Model T was that it undercut contemporary Cadillacs—which sold for $1700—to appeal to middle- and lower-class families. The handsome green vehicle you behold here, equipped in the higher “Touring” specification, cost $380 dollars. Farmers could afford Model Ts—and that’s how Ford wanted it.

Henry Ford in the fifteen-millionth Model T outside of the Highland Park factory in Michigan. The Henry Ford

“What it did can only be done once. It’s the car that made people want cars.”

So runs a voice-over in the recently-released video. Check the full segment out for yourself—and keep an eye out for the next three installments in this series. We’ll make sure to keep you posted about each new episode when it airs; you can also follow the HVA on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to stay in the loop.

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