When motorized cars first appeared, most people thought they were a joke, or at best a novelty for the rich (kind of like Segways). How, people wondered, could these new “horseless carriages” compete with actual horses?
The story of how cars became the new horsepower, and how the petrol engine dominated greener alternatives, is told every year at the Race of the Century outside of Boston. The annual event, put on by the Collings Foundation, does this by pitting its collection of antique cars—as well as planes, bikes, and horses—against each other. This year’s race is on July 30 and 31.
The race starts with the 1904 Franklin, an early petrol car. At the time it was introduced, the idea