This year Old Sturbridge Village is saluting the history of transportation in New England. Beginning with the Village’s annual antique car rally, more than 100 automobiles from 1946 and earlier will be displayed on the Village’s common. There will be an assortment of pre-1946 cars representing a variety of makes and models including steam engine cars. In addition, two dozen historical bicycles and their riders will travel through the Village, along with horse-drawn carriages. Throughout the weekend, guests can purchase wagon, boat and pony rides.
If you are interested in participating with your antique automobile, please contact Jim O'Brien.
Classic Cars Evoke America's Post-World War II Drive-Through Culture
Today people are often surprised to learn that when Old Sturbridge Village first opened in 1946, it wasn't just a walking Village — it was a driving Village. Visitors could actually drive their cars into the Village and tour by auto, motoring past the Blacksmith Shop and around the Common to view its historic stores, shops, homes and churches.
What seems odd now was perfectly normal in post-World War II America. During the war, gasoline was rationed, and automobile production ceased as factories turned out Jeeps, planes, and tanks. After these wartime deprivations, there was pent-up demand for all kinds of consumer goods — especially cars. The country embraced the drive-through culture, and Americans loved their new automobiles.
Auto-touring at Old Sturbridge Village was short-lived, however, due to rising attendance at the Village, and ceased in 1949. But OSV visitors still love antique and classic cars, and the Village salutes its early heritage by hosting its annual Antique Car Rally for autos from 1946 and earlier.