A few weeks ago, we went back to the 1930s with some stunning restored footage from the decade. It was filmed in New York and the clarity of the video made it an immersive experience. This time, we go back even further.
Imagine yourself in the early 1900s with some of the most important inventions accelerating development at the time. One of them is the automobile, and some rich and industrial people decided to take some of them for a run. For those who lived at that time, it was probably quite a sight.
If you’re wondering what it was like to see these cars in action in their prime, the folks at King Rose Archive have a treat for you. What they have here is a race around a European countryside, circa 1902. This is impressive archival footage given that the motion picture camera was introduced a few years earlier. Even then, these weren’t the most affordable items.
This video should be a treat for watchers of antique (or veteran) era cars. Since several inventors and investors have dipped their toes into automobile manufacturing, the exact identification and model of the cars here will be a challenge. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to see race cars from 120 years ago in action. The races had nothing to do with those taking place today. The race was held on dirt as there weren’t many paved roads at the time. Perhaps the closest modern equivalent would be rallying or endurance racing.
What you are looking at is probably one of the earliest recorded races in motorsport history. A quick Google search suggests that these could be excerpts from the 1902 Paris-Vienne trail. If so, that race was won by Marcel Renault, the brother of Louis and Fernand Renault. The business the brothers formed became more popular through publicity. The rest, they say, is history.