Hello everyone,

I'm actually working on an animated movie, and there is a car chase with old cars. What types of vehicles can I choose to have a sound which sounds like an old car, and that is at the same time powerful?

A small description of cars:

the story takes place in 1920-1930. The cars look like little metal wagon with wooden wheels, and a small steam chimney.

Thanks in advance ;)

3 Answers 3


I would try to make everything sound pretty clunky, including a lot of wood and metal clanking sounds. I would also probably try and incorporate a lot of engine backfiring, those cars didn't go very fast and couldn't be overworked too much. Also figure out what sort of surface is on. You might be able to get some pretty convincing wheel rolls with some material you find around the house and pitch.

  • Hey, thanks for your response. Yes, I've already make clunky sounds and metal.But for the wheels, I can't have something powerful enough :( The surface is pavement.
    – lili
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 10:34

Just found a video of the exact kind of vehicle you're talking about. Take a look/listen from 2 minute on. Also take a look at the similar videos on the side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwNxBMDLbXo

The Antique Engine library might have the source material you need: http://rabbitearsaudio.com/rea009-antique-engines/

Or if you want to record/design it yourself, you may be able to work with small propeller plans, steam engines - maybe a sewing machine in there? I'm thinking with the train or plane I'd you'd want to EQ out a lot of the rone elements of the engine and emphasise the more mechanical, chugging elements.

You mention the vehicle in your cartoon is powerful - so maybe a steam train would be a good base there. Give it a bit more oomf - but without making it sound like a modern car and emphasise the steam power aspect. Though if you want some off-time car engine sounds, my housemates' 1980s sedan has a kind of a chugging rhythm to it. Depending on how much material you need I could record some of that for you.

  • Yes, your video shows the same vehicles I'm talking about. Thanks, your comment has been very helpful. I used some steam machine in my libraries. And the sewing machine is a great idea, it adds the mechanical. Thanks for your proposition, but I've already found my motor, with old cars (as Ford, trucks, ....) But as I said before, my problem now is the wheels on the pavement. Everything I try is not powerful enough. Any idea?
    – lili
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 10:47
  • Hmm, are those wheels metal trim or wood trim? I recently did a record session with another sedan and got some nice tyre noises while doing maneuvers in a carpark. Does this work or is it too rubber-y? squeakyfish.com.au/shared/… Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 11:02
  • Because I'm thinking if you switch the engine off and coast down a hill with some lav mics pointed at the tyres...that might get the sound you need. Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 11:03
  • These wheels are in wood. Your sound is too rubbery, I need something harder. Maybe can I try with rollercoaster sound with convolution reverb? But I'm not sure with the result.
    – lili
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 11:11
  • Finaly, it works with rollercoaster and stagecoach sounds :)
    – lili
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 15:48

Thanks all for your responses. This really helped me :)

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