Just before Christmas I idled away a very informative hour at VW’s Wolfsburg museum, which is part of the sprawling factory site.

I came away with much to think about concerning Volkswagen’s rise and rise (which I’ll save for a future blog). But I also saw this advert - we think it dates from the first decade of the 20th Century - which seeks to encourage small businesses still using horses to switch to a Ford vehicle.

Among the affluent, the costs and risks of switching from horses to motor vehicles  was much discussed in the pages of Autocar over 100 years ago. The costs of keeping a horse and paying for stabling, food and a permanent carriage man or running an ‘autocar’ were often very similar.

Indeed, many enterprising carriage drivers transformed themselves into driver/mechanics and advertised for work in the Autocar classifieds as far back as 1898.

The pages of 19th Century Autocar were full of early car owners extolling the virtues of powered travel, in an era of crude and often unreliable machinery. W B Jevons, of Market Rasen, wrote in the July 9th 1898 edition: “I have run my machine [a motorised tricycle] over 750 miles without the slightest hitch whatsoever.