Film Strips – Valuable Information For Your Restoration

By Stephen Kassis

Film Strips were used by auto manufacturers in the 1920’s through the 1980’s for training purposes. This could mean training of salesmen, mechanics, management and even prospective customers. These films are full of valuable information and can be very helpful if you intend to restore your Chevy to original condition. There are a series of film strips for each year, starting around 1927. Keep in mind that new car information came out toward the end of the preceding year. If you want information about 1932 Chevrolet cars, some of the new car information would have been in late 1931 film strips. The reason for this overlap is that the new cars started production in September or October of the previous year. Promotional and technical information needed to be available to salesmen and mechanics before the end of the year.

Early Chevrolet film strips were first used in the late 1920’s. Topics such as mechanical improvements over previous years, new accessories that were available, how Chevrolet compared to other makes of cars & trucks were just a small sample of what was contained within them.

The 35mm Film Strips required a special projector that would forward the film one frame at a time. Some of these projectors were for individual use and some were larger group projectors. Some film strips had sound, others were silent with sub-titles.

One of the highly beneficial film strips to search out is the Lilliputian series. Mr. & Mrs. Lilliputian take you on a magnified, guided tour of the new Chevrolet cars. These film strips were used in 1931 & 1932 (and possibly other years). They show close-up views of new model features such as interiors, mechanical improvements like carburetion, brake systems, cylinder heads and much more. The close-up views in these film strips will be invaluable as they show detailed factory photographs that are not normally available, especially in early years.

There were film strips dedicated to selling Chevrolets, including: finding prospects, demonstrating to make the sale, finance options, selling used cars, selling accessories, are just a few dealing with the subject of selling Chevrolets. For literature collectors, this series can be of great help in finding and identifying original sales literature. There are often photos of original sales literature in these films.

Comparison films are another interesting group of film strips. These films would compare Chevrolet features with competing makes of autos and trucks such as Ford, Dodge, Plymouth & Studebaker. When viewing these films it is possible to get great insight into the highly competitive automotive marketplace. It is nice to see the offerings of other auto makers.

Starting in the 1930’s some early film strips were used in conjunction with phonograph records. The records would give verbal information and also had a tone during the presentation which indicated to the instructor that it is time to change the film strip to the next frame. In later years, film strips and records were joined by training booklets. These would all work in conjunction with each other to make clear and concise training presentations. These kits would come together in a self-contained box: film strip (s), records and booklets, all ready to use by the instructor.

Finding film strips can be an interesting challenge. Ebay, Craig’s List, estate sales & yard sales are all places you may find film strips for sale. Early film strip canisters were plain tin cans. In later years these came in colors – both metal and plastic cans. The color usually indicated what kind of film was in the can.

Keep in mind that film strips are 40 to 80 years old and more. Condition of the film is very important. Be sure to check the film condition before buying. When checking condition, be sure to check that the film in the can is the same as the film on the label of the can. Films of this age do get changed around and into the wrong container. Another common but minor problem is that the films get put back into the canister without being rewound. This usually takes only a moment to correct.

The Vintage Chevrolet Club of America has a very large collection of these film strips along with a huge amount of printed literature. Membership in this club allows access to many club resources like literature. Check them out online at

Film strips can provide a wealth of knowledge for restoring your Chevrolet. They are a great reference tool and do not take up much room for storage.

Link to Film Strips –