Past Exhibition Ran from 23 November 2019 to 19 April 2020

Cars: Accelerating the Modern World

As we approach another major turning point in automotive design, this exhibition looked at the role of the car in shaping the world we live in today.

"A thrilling ride"

The Independent

This exhibition is now closed at V&A South Kensington

Over its short 130-year history, the car has become one of the most loved, contested and influential innovations in the world. It has revolutionised manufacturing, transformed how we move, forever changing our cities, environment and economies.

Exhibition Highlights

Early motorcar. Carriage suspended on a black structure with two side wheels and one smaller front wheel
Patent-Motorwagen No. 3, Karl Benz, 1888.
Light pink felt hat
Cloche Hat, by Miss Fox, 1928 – 29, England. Museum no. T.203-1931. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Neon green and cream poster with robot, factory and workers on it
Fight Automation Fallout with Fewer Hours of Work and No Loss of Pay, poster. © Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labour and Urban Affairs
Silver flying car
PopUp next . © Italdesign
Glass radiator mascot for a car. Shaped like a screaming face, with wind blowing hair/head back in pleats
Victoire, radiator mascot, designed by René Lalique, made by Lalique glassworks, about 1925, France. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Little light blue car with two front wheels and one back wheel
(Side) Messerschmitt, KR200 Cabin Scooter Bubble Top, 1959. © Louwman Museum – The Hague (NL)
Watercolour of woman wearing grey long coat with a large black neck
Antodrôme, fashion design, by Madeleine Wallis for Paquin Ltd., late 1925, Paris. Museum no. E.4399-1957. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Model of what a man would have to look like to survive a car crash. He has a wide head/neck
Graham is a recent project by Patricia Piccinini in collaboration with the Transport Accident Commission in Australia. . © Transport Accident Commission
Colour advert for a car. Drawing of a green motorcar outside a grand building
An advert for the GM LaSalle from a series showing the car in various European locations. Illustrated by Edward A. Wilson, about 1927. © Courtesy of General Motors Company, LLC
Brown motorcar with four wheels and spare wheel on the side. Headlights, and windscreen. Cream interior
Hispano-Suiza Type HB6 ‘Skiff Torpedo’, Hispano-Suiza (chassis), Henri Labourdette (body), 1922. Photo by Michael Furman © the Mullin Automotive Museum

Past Events


Cars: Accelerating the Modern World
Supported by
Background image: E-Type Jag, opening of the M1 motorway, Vogue 1960. Photo Duffy. © Duffy Archive