DEARBORN (WWJ) – Among the 700 or so vehicles to be displayed at the 61st Annual Old Car Festival, Sept. 10-11, one will stand out from the rest – a historically-accurate replica of the 1770 Fardier de Cugnot, a steam-powered wheel cart considered to be the first self-propelled vehicle ever made.
Along with the Cugnot, the Old Car Festival will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Indy 500 race, an extraordinary gathering of 16 Sears Auto Buggies as well as offer a variety of lectures, pass-in-review parades and hands-on activities.
In 1770, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot built the Fardier and demonstrated the vehicle for the French Army, by pulling a five-ton artillery cannon. The Fardier de Cugnot replica was built by Alain Cerf and his team from the Tampa Bay Auto Museum. The vehicle will be on display in front of Town Hall in Greenfield Village and visitors will have the rare opportunity to see this amazing machine being driven throughout the village.
To honor the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500 race, there will be a number of activities dedicated to race cars and the history of racing in America. See the a Pass-in-Review parade on Saturday evening showcasing race cars throughout history as well as a presentation on the innovations of speed and safety technology. The Racing through Time lecture will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Martha-Mary Chapel and will display numerous artifacts from racing history including photographs, motion pictures and event programs.
Another great addition to the festival will be the gathering of approximately 16 Sears Auto Buggies. Sold through the Sears catalogue from 1908 to 1912, these little two cylinder cars were the classic “horseless carriage.”
Other activities throughout the event include live dramatic presentations, musical performances and Junior Drivers’ Ed for kids six and under. Also, the Benson Ford Research Center will host a book sale and a presentation on early automotive camping.
Stay late on Saturday to enjoy music and dancing, a gaslight parade of cars through the village and a fireworks show to close out the evening.
Tickets are $22 adults, $21 seniors (ages 62 and up), $16 youth (ages 5-12); children under five and members are free. For more information, call 313-982-6001 or visit thehenryford.org.