Every year just outside Boston, ancient airplanes, horse-drawn carriages, Model-Ts, and more compete in a true race for the ages. Organized by the Collings Foundation, the Race of the Century isn’t so much about crowning the fastest vehicle as it is a hands-on history lesson.

In the short video “Horses vs. Horsepower,” National Geographic shows how the Race of the Century illustrates the evolution of transportation technology. While it's easy to think of the invention of motorized technology as a linear process, it was actually a pretty bumpy ride, and the first cars were both slower and more dangerous than the horses that preceded them. By pitting 19th and early 20th century vehicles against each other, the Race of the Century celebrates early transportation technologies and shows how they evolved.

“We went from a horse to a flying machine to humans on the moon within the span of a hundred years,” Collings Foundation director of marketing Hunter Chaney explains in the video. “It’s this sort of revelation, this unique inspiration as far as discovery, that I really enjoy in this event.”

[h/t National Geographic]

Banner Image Credit: National Geographic, YouTube