Take a relaxed ride through automotive history in Ford’s new digitized archive


Ford is officially 119 years old and in honor of that, the Blue Oval is launching an online archive for car enthusiasts to browse through its long and storied past.

The Ford Heritage Vault is a digital database of more than 5,000 curated photographs and product brochures of Ford and Lincoln vehicles, from the company’s founding in 1903 to its centenary in 2003.

Inside the vault, anyone can view and download the images for “personal use, free of charge,” Ford says. The automaker will update the archive with more auto ephemera over time, so the vault will only get bigger.

“We’re opening up in a way we’ve never done before,” Ted Ryan, Ford archive and heritage brand manager, said in a statement. “Our archives were founded 70 years ago and for the first time we are opening the vault to the public. This is just a first step for everything to come in the future.”

It took the Ford archive team two years to collect all the material. The archive was tested with the help of Wayne State University employees, retirees and graduate students before opening to the public.

There’s a ton of great stuff to peruse, including a brochure for the 1961 Ford Falcon complete with cameos from Peanuts characters including Snoopy and Charlie Brown. You’ll also find ads for a set of pre-Hot Wheels Ford toy cars and trucks that “look and work like the real thing”. And my personal favorite, the 1985 Ford Aerostar van concept. (Please, Ford, electrify this immediately.)

The database is searchable, meaning Ford Mustang, F-150, and Bronco owners can go back in time and find early incarnations of their vehicles. Fans of defunct nameplates, such as Meteor, Fairlane, Galaxie, Model A, and Edsel, will also find a wealth of material to peruse. Ford claims that a user found the Tempo models their mother and grandmother owned in the ’80s and ’90s.


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