Autocar, 1901

Autocar, 1901

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The Autocar was designed by Louis S. Clarke, president and engineer of the Autocar Company, in 1901. This automobile is believed to be the first shaft-driven car constructed in the United States. In November 1901, this car was driven from the factory in Ardmore, Pa., to the auto show in New York City's Madison Square Garden in just over six hours. The 1901 Autocar has a water-cooled shaft-driven two-cylinder horizontal-opposed engine with a selective sliding-gear transmission.
The Autocar Company began life as the Pittsburg Motor Car Company in 1897. In 1899, the company moved to Ardmore, Pa., and changed its name to the Autocar Company. The Autocar Company began to make trucks as well as cars in 1907 and switched over to making trucks exclusively after 1911. In 1953, the White Motor Car Company bought a controlling interest in Autocar and moved the company to Exton, Pennsylvania. In the 1980s, Volvo bought the name, and the company changed hands again in 2001 with the purchase of the brand by the GVW Group. Since 2001 Autocar has produced heavy trucks for severe-service use.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
Automobile; Road; Autocar
date made
Clarke, Louis S.
Firestone, Jr., Harvey S.
Rite-Way Auto Painters
White Motor Company
Autocar Company
Associated Place
United States: Pennsylvania
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
tires: 28 in x 3 in; 71.12 cm x 7.62 cm
wheelbase: 66 1/2 in; x 168.91 cm
tread: 56 in; x 142.24 cm
overall: 61 in x 64 in x 102 1/2 in; 154.94 cm x 162.56 cm x 260.35 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of the Autocar Company, Ardmore, Pennsylvania
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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