Film and Video Collection

A museum curator showing two school children a strip of historic film

The Film, Video and Sound Collection was established at the National Motor Museum in 1979.

Initially collecting focused on British motor manufacturers, many of whom were ceasing trading or changing ownership in the 1980s. Obtaining items from these sources became a rescue mission, to avoid their film and video material being destroyed. In addition, a number of private motoring-themed collections were obtained, mainly amateur footage from motoring enthusiasts, giving an insight into how the motor car influenced leisure pursuits of the families featured.

Collections overview

A museum volunteer inspecting tins of historic filmThe Film and Video Collection now comprises around 26,000 items. Significant collections include those of Ford, Vauxhall, the Rootes Group, the Metropolitan Police, the AA and Dunlop. The Collection also holds rare footage from the Campbell family covering World Land Speed Record attempts and family material. The collection spans a wide range of motoring-related topics including home movies, manufacturers’ promotional films, motorsport and record breakers. It features racing cars, production cars, prototypes, concept vehicles, trucks, motorcycles and buses, and mechanical components.

The Collection ranges in date from 1900 to the present day. Films are held in 8mm, Super 8, 9.5mm, 16mm (the most common) and 35mm gauges. There are video recordings in a broad range of formats, including two-inch and one-inch reel-to-reel video, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, VHS and U-matic. The audio material ranges from quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape to audio cassettes and vinyl records.

Explore content from the Film and Video Collection

Film and Video facilities

A museum curator using a Steenbeck film editing suiteThe National Motor Museum Trust runs a range of machines to both allow the team access to this fascinating collection, and to also digitise it as part of its preservation programme. These facilities and the expertise that goes with them can also be accessed commercially.

If you are interested in licencing footage from this unique collection please contact the Contents and Facilities Manager.

For more information on the Collections contact the Film and Video Curator.

If you would like a copy of any of our images, please visit our dedicated Motoring Picture Library website