The history of the automobile is a fascinating story filled
with passion, innovation, ingenuity and hard work. This DVD brings together all
five parts of BP’s magnificent documentary series detailing the development of
the motorcar right through to the ground-breaking Mini of the late 1950s.
Each of the five films from the BP Video Library charts a
different era, with footage shot inside leading motoring museums around the
world combined with wonderful colour film of the most significant, and earliest,
models in automobile history - back in action against town, village and
countryside backdrops rather than behind the velvet ropes of static displays.
We begin at the dawn of motoring, in the 1800s, when
pioneers hunted for a way to replace horse power with horsepower. The film
explains, with rare footage of original working designs, how steam-powered
vehicles cleared the way for the internal combustion engine, fuelled first by
hydrogen and only later by petrol.
Our journey continues through the arrival of the famous
names including Daimler, Benz, Peugeot, Renault, Rolls Royce and Fiat, and we
compare the development of the car on both sides of the English Channel, as
well as both sides of the Atlantic.
We follow the development of the mass market, led by Ford’s
Model T, the reinvention of the industry following World War One, the important
role of motor racing, the stunning craftsmanship of Bugatti and Alfa
Romeo, and then the horrendous impact of the Depression, when the hundreds of
independent car builders were reduced to just dozens.
The story continues into the 1930s, when the industry
combated plummeting sales with innovation and ingenuity, including new engine
configurations and the arrival of the first popular diesel car. Then we
discover how World War Two led to a new order for motor manufacturers, with Britain leading
the way and major names recovering and adapting to drive forward development and
create the blueprint which underpins car design to this day.
History of the Motor Car uncovers some startling facts,
including the revelation that speed traps are nothing new, and that militant opposition
to traffic policing in the early 1900s gave us one of our most revered motoring
organisations! Plus, we find out if it can really be true that the first car to reach 100kph was powered by electricity.