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British Car Trials on The Autobahn: Tests Such As These | British Pathé

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Published on Apr 13, 2014

The British Motor Corporation (BMC) demonstrates how they tests their cars (Austin A50, Morris Minor, Morris Oxford) by racing them down the German Autobahn and stopping for a compulsory cup of tea in this remarkable footage from the 1950's. "If you want to know how tough a car's engine is, one way to find out is to try flogging it to death, or in more technical terms, testing it to destruction"

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(FILM ID:2271.04)

Begins with the BMC logo and the subtitle: "Amazing Proving Trials for British Motor Corporation Engines."

Aerial shots of cars driving fast on a motorway. "If you want to know how tough a car's engine is, one way to find out is to try flogging it to death, or in more technical terms, testing it to destruction" states the narrator. BMC invite the viewer to observe how they test their cars.

Interior of an Austin A50. C/U of the steering wheel as a man drives on a German Autobahn. Normal family saloons will be driven for 20,000 miles at an average speed of over a mile a minute. Other cars being tested are seen from the driver's perspective (including a Morris Minor.) C/U of the front of the Austin as it travels along. C/U of front of Morris Minor. The Austin A35 is also seen. Various shots of the cars driving along the motorway. One of the cars pulls into a petrol station. The Morris Oxford is also under trial. Technical details about the compression ratios of the cars are given. Cars are reversed into parking spaces. This is perhaps more like a motorway service station than a mere petrol station. Driver gets out of Morris Minor and pours petrol into the tank trough a funnel. The other drivers fill up with petrol (not from the pumps - from their own cans.) C/U of one of the drivers checking his oil. Two of the drivers beckon another two into the service station for a cup of tea. Panning shot of the sign above the restaurant or cafe.

C/U of the speedometer. Driver toots his horn. C/U of the front wheel of one of the cars turning. More shots from inside the car and aerial shots of the cars. It begins to rain and the windscreen wipers are set in motion. C/U of one the drivers. Drivers pull into a petrol station.

Cars are filled with petrol, checks are made, drivers make notes. The cars move off again. More driving shots, narrator gives technical details. Special gauges are installed in each car to show oil and water temperature and axle and under bonnet temperature. C/U of the gauges.

Stuttgart, the cars pull in after 20,000 miles "every one of them is still going strong...destruction is still quite a long way off." Views of city streets from inside car. Cars pull into a garage where mechanics inspect their engines for wear and tear. The drivers propose that they try another 5,000 miles "to see if they can take that too". Various shots of mechanics performing tests and nice arty shot of the reflection of the garage in a shiny hubcap. C/U of two mechanics working under the bonnet of a Morris Minor.

C/U of bonnet of Morris being washed. M/S showing man with a hose rinsing the car. The cars pull out of the garage and drive off. They pass Stuttgart landmarks. C/U of instrument panel. The cars all manage the extra 5,000 with flying colours. More driving shots.

"Tests like these are not only a vindication of the designers' skill, but also one more example of the thoroughness with which the BMC test their cars before handing them over to the public. A thoroughness which inspires confidence."

BRITISH PATHÉ'S STORY Before television, people came to movie theatres to watch the news. British Pathé was at the forefront of cinematic journalism, blending information with entertainment to popular effect. Over the course of a century, it documented everything from major armed conflicts and seismic political crises to the curious hobbies and eccentric lives of ordinary people. If it happened, British Pathé filmed it.

Now considered to be the finest newsreel archive in the world, British Pathé is a treasure trove of 85,000 films unrivalled in their historical and cultural significance.

British Pathé also represents the Reuters historical collection, which includes more than 120,000 items from the news agencies Gaumont Graphic (1910-1932), Empire News Bulletin (1926-1930), British Paramount (1931-1957), and Gaumont British (1934-1959), as well as Visnews content from 1957 to the end of 1979. All footage can be viewed on the British Pathé website. https://www.britishpathe.com/

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