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V&A Museum to highlight how cars have accelerated change

Major display in London will examine the leading role of the car in shaping today’s world

A major exhibition showing how the car has shaped our world is to be staged by the Victoria & Albert Museum.

A total of 15 cars and 250 objects will go on show in London later this year, including the first internal combustion-powered automobile – the Benz Patent-Motorwagen No 3.

The exhibition will highlight the car as the object that accelerated the pace of the 20th century’s progress like no other – changing our relationship with speed, influencing the way we make and sell items, and altering the landscape of cities and the countryside.

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Cars: Accelerating The Modern World will begin with a look ahead via a range of concept car designs, illustrations and films that imagined an accelerated future. It will also examine how cars of the 20th century were designed to go ever faster – with the Tatra T77 from then Czechoslovakia being an early example of streamlining.

Other sections will explore automobile production, with a Ford Model T showing the origins of the assembly line, and how cars were turned into objects of desire, exploring the early history of General Motors.

It will end with “fantasy images of a future world” – displaying the Pop-Up Next flying car concept designed by Airbus, Italdesign and Audi.

Brendan Cormier, curator of the V&A, said of the exhibition: “The V&A’s mission is to champion the power of design to change the world, and no other design object has impacted the world more than the automobile. This exhibition is about the power of design to effect change, and the unintended consequences that have contributed to our current environmental situation.”

The exhibition opens on November 23 and runs until April 19, 2020.

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