Footage of a veteran car rally held in England in 1954

In the U.S. and the U.K., vintage cars – i.e. cars produced between 1904 and 1918 – have attracted motoring enthusiasts already at an early stage. An impressive testimony of this is the Anglo-American Vintage Car Rally held in 1954. It was organized by the British Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) in co-operation with the British Travel Association and was documented lavishly in a promotional film. The idea was to attract foreign travellers, mainly from the U.S., by presenting the historic treasures of England during the 8-days run from Scotland to Sussex.

Fittingly, quite a number of participants arrived with their cars by ship from the U.S.A. The American vehicles raised huge attention, as these were mostly large and powerful cars from manufacturers hardly known in England. Worth mentioning, apart from a rare Ford Model K built in 1906, is a lovely Kissel Speedster from 1923. The Kissel Motor Car Company built cars, fire engines and lorries between 1906 until 1931. They also provided a vehicle to the motoring enthusiast Anita King who was the first woman to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in a car on her own in 1915.

Source: YouTube © Copyright: British Pathé

The Anglo-American Vintage Car Rally started in Edinburgh and ended at the Goodwood Racing Circuit where the participants had the opportunity to try their cars on the race track. The footage of this rally is definitively worth watching not only because of the magnificent cars that bore up even under adverse conditions. It is also a nostalgic document of early post-war Britain that still appeared to be spared by the often devastating invasion of modern times.

Source: Michael Schlenger