A Ford Dealer Named 'Ferraris' May Be Responsible For One Of The Earliest Animated Cars

Trying to figure out the ‘first’ of anything is a tricky business, and is rarely as simple as it seems. And yet I keep finding myself drawn to things that may be automotive firsts. I won’t say that this ad for a Ford dealer confusingly named “Ferraris” is the first animated car, but it’s likely pretty close.

Just in case it doesn’t start playing at the correct place, go to 0:50 to see the ad, which dates from somewhere in the 1920s. I suspect this must have been played before movies at local theaters, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet.


The little animated ad itself is pretty fascinating, containing some very nicely rendered animations of old Ford trucks, in varying states of repair. It’s also the earliest instance I have encountered that shows a dealer offering a loaner vehicle while a customer’s vehicle is being serviced.

And, of, course, there’s the fact that this Ford dealer is named Ferraris, a solid 20 or so years before any car would wear the Ferrari name.

It’s also interesting to see how Mr.Ferraris was rendered in a more lifelike manner than his cartoon truck-owning customer. I guess that was in hopes that perhaps people may recognize Mr.Ferraris from the ads, and get the man some face recognition for his top-notch truck-resurrection (though he calls it a van, interestingly) services.


I’m sure there were earlier animated cars or trucks, but I’m not so sure there were earlier animated dealership/repair shop advertisements. Even if this isn’t the first, it’s still a fascinating look at the early days of cars, animation, and dealership loaner vehicles.


I mean, that service is simply splendid, and I sort regret I did not know him before, too.

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Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)