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Discover a century of Ford product photos in this online catalog

The Ford Motor Co. story is now online.

The automaker’s Ford Archives has released the Ford Heritage Vault, an extensive digital catalog of 5,000 Ford and Lincoln product photographs and brochures, available free for the first time.

Published at on the company’s 119th anniversary, the Vault traces a century of Ford’s production history from 1903 to its centenary in 2003. The collection transfers analog archives from the business going digital and will continue to grow as more items are added.

“These assets were born analog, and we’ve worked hard to bring them into the digital world,” said Ciera Casteel, processing archivist. “But digitization is not enough. It was important to us that the Heritage Vault be accessible to everyone. »

Considered by Ford to be the “U.S. Automotive Industry’s Most Comprehensive Online Database”, the Vault was created with car enthusiasts, journalists, researchers, Ford employees and fans of Blue Oval – making the rich heritage of Henry Ford’s iconic American company accessible from anywhere in the world. world. Historic images showcase Ford/Lincoln vehicle design, trace the brand’s heritage, and serve as a time capsule for fashion trends from decades past.

    Ford Heritage Vault 1967 Ford Falcon brochure.

For example, online visitors can search for their historic 1969 Ford Bronco and view historic studio photographs and company marketing brochures. Or they can learn about retired badges like Meteor, Fairlane, Galaxy, and Edsel. A website tester found the Tempo models their mother and grandmother owned in the 1980s and 1990s. Fans of the movie ‘Ford v Ferrari’ can look for original corporate photos of the victorious Ford GT40 Mk II at Le Mans in 1966.

The website also features a Trending Now page and the ability to search by model (eg, 1903 Ford Model A). The vault also has the ability to translate photos, graphics and other pre-digital assets for compatibility with assistive technology used by visually impaired site visitors (such as screen readers) to interpret websites. Artifacts are free to download for personal use.

    1968 Ford Product Brochure (Ranchero-Bronco page) in the Ford Heritage Vault.

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

The Ford Archives team, led by former Coca Cola image historian Ryan, has painstakingly curated the documents for the past two years. Ford worked with graduate students from Wayne State University’s library and information science program — as well as Ford employees and retirees — to test the Vault before launch.

“Vehicle photos and brochures like these add so much more information and impact for people who want to learn more about our heritage,” Archivist Casteel said.

Henry Payne is an auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at [email protected] or Twitter @HenryEPayne.