Cars that started off the motoring century
Centenarian cars are cars that are a hundred years old or more. Facing
a new millennium it's hard to imagine that a hundred years ago cars were a new and exiting
invention that by no means had replaced horse drawn carriages. Driving cars in that era
was a true adventure, not only because of the unreliable mechanics but also due to the
hostile attitude that people in general had against these 'monstrous contraptions'. The
first petrol engined cars were loud and smelly and much faster than anything else on the
road and above all very rare, so when they did come by they scared the hell out of
A lot has changed since those days, but somehow the attitude of western society in general towards cars didn't improve much. Okay, most of us drive a car each day and no one will deny that cars are a practical and comfortable means of transport, but still cars are considered a pest. They pollute the air, nature is pushed away by roads, traffic jams grow and grow wasting time and money, kids can't play safely in the streets, etcetera, etcetera... Cars more or less became the backbone of western economy and inversely proportional to this development grew their acceptance by society. We'll enter the new century still being scared by cars.
But we at RitzSite happen to love cars, and so do you; why else would you
watch these pages? Maybe being scared of cars is part of their attraction. We've banned
most of the natural risks from our lives; we won't be eaten by lions or get trampled upon
by mammoths anymore. And apart from some natural catastrophes and illnesses cars now
represent the danger part in our lives. You'll always run the risk of crashing into
something while your driving or getting hit by a car when walking. That's not only scary
but also exciting, the thrill of arriving safe in spite of all the dangers and mastering
speeds and forces never meant to be mastered by humans gives modern life a necessary
quality. These aspects also inspired the rapid development of cars a century ago, and not
its practical uses. The whish to get further and go faster and to get a bigger thrill out
of it lead to what the car is today.
In this tour you'll see some of the cars that started off the motoring century, all built by pioneers and kept in a meticulous condition for over a hundred years. The pictures were taken in February 1999 at the Amsterdam AutoRAI which celebrated its 100th anniversary.
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Well, let's start the tour by clicking the arrows pointing right: