- Automobile History
The Beauty And Elegance Of Edwardian Cars
Edwardian cars are considered by many people to have a beauty and an elegance rarely found in modern vehicles. They are highly collectable, and enthusiasts and collectors clubs will often hold meetings and rallies to exhibit them. It is a testament to the build quality of these vintage cars that they can still be driven to this day.
Edwardian cars were built between the first of January 1905 and the thirty-first of December 1918. The term Edwardian and vintage cars are often used interchangeably. Vintage cars refer to vehicles built during the same period, but extending up to the thirty-first of December 1930 in the UK, and in the pre World War Two period in the United States
Edwardian cars were still a relatively new invention, and were only just beginning to supersede the horse drawn carriage as the dominant mode of transport. This was reflected in the design of the cars, which were often large and similar in style to the previous carriages. They were incredibly elegant, and like the carriages they were replacing were reserved for the wealthier members of society.
The earliest Edwardian cars were created using wood which was then painted by hand. The most extravagant cars had carpeting and fully upholstered seats. They would also often have curtains over the windows. Even at this stage, as the motor industry was beginning to develop, there was a range of cars available at various prices. These Edwardian cars would differ in the amount of luxury they offered.
The designs of vintage cars changed considerably over the period of their creation, as technology became more advanced and tastes changed. Vintage cars were made to be smaller and faster. This period saw the introduction of such innovations as the ignition system, transmissions and throttles, independent suspension, and four wheel brakes. Wooden frames were also replaced by tougher and more durable steel.
The Edwardian era saw the popularity of the motor car grow rapidly. Companies were started in various parts of the world to develop this new technology, many of which are still around in some form today. At the end of the nineteenth century Benz and Daimler began production in Germany, and the turn of the century saw Peugeot start up in France.
The USA had seen the origins of the incredibly popular Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the Henry Ford Company. The latter was the manufacturer of the world famous Ford Model T from 1908 to 1927. This was one of the first Edwardian cars to be built on an assembly line, and made motor cars affordable and available to the masses.
The production of Edwardian and vintage cars was therefore becoming a global phenomenon. Some other famous examples of manufacturers of the time include Austin in the United Kingdom, Bugatti and Lancia in Italy, BMW in Germany, and Cadillac in the USA. There were also countless others who haven't survived and whose names are therefore not as well known.
The creation of these companies shows what a golden age for motoring the Edwardian period was. The fine craftsmanship and elegant beauty of Edwardian cars is what made them increasingly popular at the time, and why they continue to hold a fascination for many people a hundred years later.