Ford turned 119 this year. To celebrate, the automotive stalwart is making more than 100 years of its archival material freely available to everyone online. The Ford Heritage Vault lets fans of the brand, motoring journalists, and car enthusiasts sort through artifacts from the Blue Oval.
No library card needed
The digital vault contains over 5,000 curated old-timey photos and product brochures of Ford, Lincoln, and Edsel vehicles. These span from 1896 to the brand’s formative year in 1903, all the way to the company’s centennial in 2003. That must’ve taken a while to scan.
Everyone is welcome to peruse the archives to view or download any articles for “personal use, free of charge,” said the company. What’s even better is the vault is searchable. No need to scroll through thousands of images, if you miss that old Bantam bakkie or the Cortina, just give it a search. Just don’t count on finding the South African Ford Cortina V6 there. We tried. There’s no guarantee you’ll find everything but Ford says it’ll continue to add items over time.
Ford’s archive and heritage brand manager Ted Ryan said, “We’re opening up in a way we’ve never done before. Our archives were established 70 years ago, and for the first time, we’re opening the vault for the public to see.”
Ford for everyone
Ford has also made an effort for its heritage vault to appeal to even more people with a host of accessibility features. Blind or visually impaired users can still make use of the site. The photos, charts, and graphs are all compatible with assistive technology like screen readers. If that isn’t enough for some people, they can also request other versions.
“These assets were born analogue, and we have worked hard to bring them to the digital world,” said Ciera Casteel, a processing archivist who led the effort to make the assets accessible. “But digitizing isn’t enough. It was important to us that the Heritage Vault is accessible for everyone to enjoy.”