Highlands & Islands

Lost film of Ford Model T on Ben Nevis found

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Media captionFootage from the BFI shows the journey of a Ford Model T car driving down Ben Nevis in 1911

Footage from more than 100 years ago of a Ford Model T car making a descent of Ben Nevis, which was thought to have been lost, has been found.

The British Film Institute has made the film, shot in May 1911, available on its website.

Henry Alexander Jr, the son of Scotland's first Ford dealer, drove the Model T up and then down the mountain.

The publicity stunt was to show that the mass produced American car was superior to hand-crafted British ones.

A peat bank is shown in the film being dynamited to make the journey a bit smoother for the Model T.

Image copyright BFI
Image caption Picture courtesy of Motoring over Ben Nevis (1911), from Britain on Film collection, BFI Player

In 2011, a team of about 60 volunteers carried a dismantled replica of a Model T Ford car up and then back down from the summit of Ben Nevis.

The attempt, made in strong winds, hail and snow, was successfully completed.

Volunteers carried wheels, seats and the chassis. Other parts of the car were put into 40 bags weighing 10 pounds (4kg) each.

After being reassembled on the summit the car was again dismantled for the descent.

An organisation called Ben Nevis Bronze Ford Committee is raising £86,000 to pay for a a full-size bronze sculpture of the 1911 Model T.

Once made, it would be installed in Fort William.

Image copyright Ben Nevis Bronze Ford Committee
Image caption A mock up of the planned sculpture

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