• Short Summary

    Lovely documentary about Austin Cambridge cars - great commentary as if spoken by the car itself.

  • Description

    Opening credits: Austin of England present: I Am A Car. Cast-A40 and A50 Austin Cambridge Cars. Produced for the Austin Motor Co Ltd. by the Pathe Documentary Unit.

    Austin Cambridge travels towards the camera on a country road. Narrator states "I am a car, I am more than a machine on four wheels, I become part of your life, I share your working days, and your leisure hours." etc. over shots of cars travelling along various roads.

    Narrator speaks of how the car is also a business partner. A salesman who works in the clothing business loads his car with various items of clothing.

    A woman is helped into a car by a man in a suit and hat. They travel to a lake for a "getaway to the quiet places."

    Woman holding a baby gets into a car with the rest of the family. Narrator describes how the car helps with the shopping and takes you to friends and on holidays. Woman places various things on the shelf under the windscreen.

    A courting couple kiss in a car parked by a lake. We see them from outside the car then inside as the girl closes the window and puts on her cardigan. "I am a private world for two, a shelter from the rain and I'm the only other one to share your honeymoon."

    Exterior of the Austin works. As the narrator tells how an Austin Cambridge is constructed we see the chassis superimposed over the sub frame. Various testing procedures are shown. Quality control men test the car on a "bumping" track to test suspension and rigidity of the body. The car is then placed in a wind tunnel to test wind resistance. Man in an anorak is seen in the wind tunnel with the car.

    Two men in Arctic gear go into the "cold room". Inside is a car covered with ice - brilliant! This is to test the car in cold starting conditions. The two men open the car's bonnet, fiddle around inside the engine and start it up.

    The new assembly building. "The finest and most modern assembly plant in Europe." Various shots of men working on the assembly line. Some of the shots show parts of the car being moved by machine. Car bodies move overhead. The wheels of the car are stacked inside the open boot. Silencers are fixed into place. Narrator states that the Austin is a very quiet car "In spite all the power stored up in the engine." The ignition leads are connected up. Body is lowered into place automatically. Men work on the body. The wheels are fitted. A nut tightening machine is shown. Various shots of men working on the cars which move along the production line. Includes shot of man working underneath the car.

    C/U of foot pedals of the car. C/U of the dashboard. A hand comes into shot and turns on the radio - groovy music on the soundtrack. C/U of speedometer. De-mister and heater are demonstrated, as is automatic roof light. Indicator lever is flicked - it has a flashing light on the end. C/U of indicator flashing.

    Finished car is driven out of the assembly plant and parked outside alongside lots of other finished cars. Narrator observes that although the cars are all identical in appearance, performance and reliability they will all take on their own personalities when delivered to their owners.

    Narrator states that there are waiting lists all over the world for the cars. A car transporter (a "Queen Mary"?) drives off carrying cars for export. Other finished cars are driven out of the Austin works.

    The car "speaks" again. Over shot of Austin Cambridge being driven down a suburban street, voiceover says: "I am a car. Your home is my home. Where you go, I will go." etc. The car is driven into a garage beside a house. Other shots of other cars being driven into other house garages.

    "I am a salesman's car" states the narrator over shots of the clothing salesman seen earlier arriving at a shop and unloading clothes. At the weekend this working car will be transformed as the "shop on wheels" is closed and into the boot will go suitcases, golf clubs and tennis rackets.

    L/S of a school. A woman's voice describes how the car can be used to make the daily round easy and pleasant for the woman with children. It is easy to drive, easy to park and has a special security child lock "to resist fidgeting little fingers". The woman reverse parks the car and she and the children climb out.

    A Doctor leaves his home and gets into his car. "I will start readily on the coldest day. And on the dark nights my powerful built-in headlamps will find this way..." states the narrator over shots of the Doctor driving his car through a ford or flooded road.

    The next car owner featured is a farmer. He drives along a rough country road. The narrator has a broad country accent. The car draws up to a barn and what looks like a sheep is taken out of the boot! (Can't be though, surely!) The car pulls up beside some pigs and the farmer pulls out a bucket of food. "I'm more than a farmer's car. I'm his legs; I'm his horse; I'm one of the hands" etc. says the voiceover. The farmer is seen going about his work.

    "And I'm a motoring enthusiast's car" says another voice. The car is seen parked outside a house. The bonnet is raised.

    The motoring enthusiast is seen tinkering with the engine. He is topping up the water. As is typical with men and their cars the "car" states the following when the man's girlfriend appears on the scene: "What's more young lady is that I'm his one and only love" ! The car talks about its braking power and air cooling system.

    Over a shot of a young schoolboy opening the boot of his car the "car" says "I'm a kid's car too, if pop would only let me drive. When we had a flat tyre on the old car, Pop used to mutter the sort of language Ma said I wasn't supposed to hear. But now we hardly need the old boy around to change the tyre." etc. Father comes to the car and loads the car with suitcases. The schoolboy helps his father to change a tyre. We see the father undoing the nuts and jacking up the car. He removes the tyre and the boy gets the spare out of the boot and wheels it along to his dad.

    "And I'm a girl-who-likes-her-comforts car." says a female narrator. Inside a car we see a young couple driving along a country road. They chat to each other then the woman opens the glove compartment and gets out a thermos flask. She pours a cup of tea or coffee with the cup balanced on the door of the glove compartment.

    Narrator sums up all the great things about the Austin Cambridge over good shots of the car being driven - interior shots of steering wheel, views from inside the car, driver's point of view shots, L/Ss of the car driving along, beeping the horn etc. Good driving sequence. Gate of a level crossing is closed and Austin drives off. Driver's point of view shots of the countryside. "I am your friend, your partner, your companion. I am your car." Promotional blurb includes such claims as "This is the finest car in its class ever to be produced by any country. Depend on it. You can depend on Austin."

    Note: documentation file exists. Shot list, commentary and correspondence. 2 prints exist.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:09:14:00 / 01:26:26:00

Comments (1)

  1. HelenLMason says

    So good to see this film! I’m the baby being put into the car by my mother’s friend Sue.

    My mother can remember the day filming in the Lickey Hills! I got paid with an ice cream.

    Report comment
    Report comment

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment