Have you ever told a story about your first car, truck, or SUV, but you don’t have any photos? The new Ford Heritage Vault has photos of Ford vehicles from 1948 through 2003. You can find pictures of classic 1940s Ford F-150 pickup trucks all the way to the 1965 Ford Bronco sport utility vehicle brochure and everything in between. If you have a report on the history of the pickup truck, the Ford Heritage Vault probably has some content you could use.
The Ford Heritage Vault doesn’t just have Ford trucks and SUVs
Are you looking for your grandfather’s first car? Perhaps an old truck your dad used to drive? The Ford Heritage Vault doesn’t just have Ford vehicles but includes Lincoln, Mercury, Edsel, and other brands that might not be around any longer. Ford says the comprehensive collection has more than 5,000 photographs and brochures from the past century. A photo of the 1951 Ford F-1 on the Dearborn Test Track shows a white pickup truck going up a hill. The photo above shows a green 1963 Ford F-250 4×4 pickup truck (neg C1092-007) on a gravel hill.
According to a recent USA Today article, Ford launched the photo website for the 119th anniversary of the Ford Fotor Company in June of last year. It was so popular at launch that the website crashed and had to be taken down. The Ford Heritage Vault told USA Today that it has doubled its server capacity and was ready for visitors.
Ford archivist Ted Ryan said views have been very strong for the more than 9,000 images available on the site. Photos of the Ford F-Series trucks, Mustang, Bronco, and more have also attracted old and new fans. “We expected heavy, heavy usage and then decline. Instead, we’re averaging 3,000 downloads a day and 3,500 users a day.” Curators spend two years reviewing documents from the company’s founding in 1903 until 2003.
The Ford Heritage Vault has free images for download
One of the main goals of the Ford Heritage Vault is to make the automaker’s history more accessible to the public. Ford wanted people who appreciate the automotive industry to be able to locate and share photos that make up that history. Ryan said the website had attracted visitors from 167 countries so far.
“I have this mental image of a car club in Finland or Croatia discovering the site and sharing the URL around to its members as they dive in,” Ryan told USA Today. He says he hopes the word-of-mouth traffic and recommendations will keep the site going. During Thanksgiving week, Finland was the top country accessing the site. Thanksgiving week brought an average of 3,000 downloads per day.
The first country to have access was America in June 2022, then Britain launched, and the Ford Heritage Vault was searched 500,000 times and saw 125,000 downloads. South Africa and Australia have also been big fans of the photo archives. Photos of vintage Ford Bronco SUVs have been popular amongst site visitors, but there are plenty of other vehicles worth browsing.
Spread the word and keep automotive history alive
Ford plans to add more international products for people soon. Archivists are working on digitizing, scanning, and cataloging items before the new photos go live. Recently, Ford has kept photos, brochures, and other documents in a temperature-and-humidity-controlled building in Dearborn.
Ryan says the staff is working on concept cars now and then press releases and other publications after that. He said he hopes this helps future generations find the photos and information necessary to keep the history alive.
For now, the Ford Heritage Vault offers a way for new fans to connect with automotive history in America and beyond. If you need photos of a 1941 Ford ice truck, a 2000 Ford Mustang GT, or a 1980 Ford B-Series school bus brochure, the Heritage Vault has it all.