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Autocar truck gasoline engine
Catalog #: 307,254, Accession #: 68,520
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

This engine was made by the Autocar Company of Ardmore Pennsylvania for the Smithsonian Institution in the early 1920s, and was accessioned on June 26, 1922. The engine was displayed as an illustration of trucking technology.

The Autocar Company began life as the Pittsburgh Motor Car Company in 1897. Its President, Louis S. Clarke, was an early auto engineer who was one of the designers of a three wheel gasoline powered tricycle in 1897 (also in the Smithsonian collection). In 1899, the company moved to Ardmore, Pennsylvania and changed its name to the Autocar Company. Between 1900 and 1911, the company continued to make cars, including a 1901 model that was one of the first shaft-driven automobiles in the United States, that was donated to the Smithsonian at the same time as the truck engine in 1922. The Autocar Company began to make trucks in 1907, and switched over to making trucks exclusively after 1911. The brand Autocar still exists today, although the company has passed through a number of different hands since 1953, when the White Motor Car Company bought a controlling interest in Autocar.

Physical Description
artifact. approx. 42" H x 40" W x 30" D; four cylinder gasoline engine designed for use in trucks; horsepower: 28.9; sectioned to demonstrate working parts.
Date Made:
Gift of the Autocar Company
Between the 1890s and 1920s, a standard automotive design emerged out of the competition between steam, electric, and internal-combustion cars. Manufacturers chose engines, drive trains, and accessories that they thought would attract buyers or make cars more powerful, cheaper, or easier to operate. The front-engine, shaft-driven internal-combustion car appeared by 1901 and became the overwhelming choice of motorists by 1910.
Related People, Places, and Events
Autocar Company

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