January 14, 2024


Autocar Co. (1908-1954)
Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Autocar Div. White Motor Co. (1954-1980)
Exton, Pennsylvania
Autocar Div. Volvo (1980-2001)
Ogden, Utah
Autocar Co. (2001-to present)
Hagerstown, Indiana

Autocar truck bow-tie radiator emblem (2019)   autocar

Autocar claims to have built America's first commercially available motor truck in 1899. This was a purpose built 700lb capacity package delivery van. However, initially the Autocar Company was a passenger car manufacturer. Autocar passenger car production began Ardmore, Pennsylvania in 1901. 

Autocar began to experiment with commercial vehicles in 1907. The first Autocar trucks were in production in 1908 and were immediately successful, so successful, in fact, that Autocar decided to stop making passenger cars after 1912. 
The first Autocar trucks were powered by 18hp two-cylinder engines with three speeds and shaft drive. More than 30,000 of these trucks were built before production was phased out by 1926. After 1919, a range of four-cylinder trucks of 2-ton to 5-ton capacity were also introduced. By 1921, Autocar offered three truck models with capacities ranging from 1-1/2-ton to 6-tons. Electric and gas-electric trucks were also produced until 1926. In 1926, Autocar introduced a new series of conventional gasoline powered trucks, which continued to be developed through a wide range of models.

Autocar was a major supplier of trucks during the Second World War and the company expanded after the war with a production of over 5,300 trucks in 1946. But the curtailment of the heavy truck market in the 1950's brought trouble. In 1953, Autocar was bought out by White and, in 1954, production moved to Exton, Pennsylvania. Autocar was later taken over by Volvo and most recently by Grand Vehicle Works Holdings mainly for the manufacture of refuse trucks still using the Autocar name and logo.


The first Autocar trucks carried a nameplate displaying "The Autocar" name in logo style attached to the the lower part of the front of the dash, see original photo below from 1910:

This is an Autocar Type XXI truck with front nameplate (1910)  dpl

Close-up showing Autocar nameplate (1910)

This Autocar truck nameplate continued in use for many years and is more clearly seen in the following photo:

Autocar truck nameplate     ms

This is the brass Autocar truck nameplate shown below, which was originally painted black as shown above.  Original Autocar truck nameplates are scarce.

This is an Autocar truck nameplate (1908-1926)   mjs
Size: 191mm wide 58mm high    MM: None

The Autocar truck nameplate is also seen in the following original photo of a truck on the Autocar stand at the 1910 Newark Auto Show:

Autocar stand at auto show (1910)   dpl

Close-up showing Autocar truck with dashboard nameplate (1910) dpl

The Autocar passenger car seen behind the Autocar truck in the above photo displays "The Autocar" logo as a brass radiator script. This script is seen on Ardmore passenger cars in other original photos from 1910. It is likely that some Autocar trucks and buses may have also displayed "The Autocar" on a brass script on the front of the dash, see surviving 1912 Autocar bus shown below. This Autocar bus also shows "The Autocar" nameplates mounted on the lower dash and on the body sides below the driver's seat:

Autocar bus with script & dash and body side nameplates (1912)    hemmings

This is a brass Autocar dash scripts. Original Autocar scripts are rare.

This is an Autocar dash script (c1910-1912)    sam
Size: 306mm wide  

"The Autocar" nameplate shown earlier continued to be displayed on the front of the dash and on the body sides or on the main chassis side frame members, as can be seen in the following advertisement illustration:

Autocar truck ad showing nameplates (1916) ebay

The iconic bow-tie Autocar emblem, shown above at the top of this post, is reported to have first appeared in 1919 when a new range of 2-ton to 5-ton capacity Autocar trucks were introduced, although I have been unable to find an original illustration from 1919 showing this emblem. This may have been introduced in late 1919 for the 1920 model year. If you have a dated illustration of the Autocar bow-tie emblem from 1919, please let me know, in order to update this post. 

The following advertisement from 1920 shows an Autocar truck displaying a radiator emblem with "The Autocar" logo but it has a narrow oval shape rather than a bow-tie shape:

Autocar truck ad with rad emblem (1920)  sep

Close-up showing radiator emblem (1920)

This may be an artist's incorrect impression of the Autocar emblem, but if this a true representation of the emblem when it was initially introduced in late 1919, which was then changed to the bow-tie emblem, it would be extremely rare. If you have further details of this oval shaped Autocar truck emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The following Automobile Trade Journal article about the new Autocar four-cylinder truck shown at the New York Auto Show in January 1920 includes the same illustration as shown above and a photo of the Autocar chassis as seen at the show:

Autocar truck (January 1920)  atj

Autocar truck chassis showing rad emblem (Jan 1920)  atj

This photo is not so clear but it shows that the actual radiator emblem had vertical sides, so it is indeed the bow-tie emblem and was first shown at the New York Auto Show on January 8, 1920.

The Autocar truck bow-tie emblem is seen in Autocar truck advertisements later in the 1920's, see 1922 example shown below:

Autocar truck ad showing bow-tie radiator emblem (1922) gaukmotors

The Autocar truck bow-tie radiator emblem is also seen on the following surviving trucks:

Autocar truck with bow-tie radiator emblem (1922)  bonhams

Autocar dump truck (1923)    flickr

Close-up showing radiator emblem (1923)

 Autocar truck with bow-tie radiator emblem (1920's)    ms

This is the black enamel Autocar truck radiator emblem shown below. This Autocar truck emblem is scarce.

This is an Autocar truck radiator emblem (c1920's)   mjs
Size: 226mm wide 95mm high   MM: Unknown

Some Autocar trucks, probably from the 1930's, also displayed the "Autocar" name on black painted hood side nameplates, see examples below:

Autocar C-50T truck with hood side nameplates (1947) 

This is an Autocar truck hood side nameplate (c1930-1950) mjs
Size: 304mm wide 54mm high   MM: Unknown

The following are some variations of the bow-tie Autocar truck radiator emblem:

This is an Autocar truck radiator emblem (dates unknown)  mjs
Size: 225mm wide 95mm high    MM: Unknown

This is an Autocar truck radiator emblem (dates unknown)  mjs
Size: 222mm wide 95mm high   MM: Unknown

This is an Autocar truck radiator emblem (1928)    ms
Size: abt 225mm wide 95mm high     MM: Unknown

This is an Autocar truck radiator emblem (c2000)  lktec
Size:237mm wide 102mm high   MM: Unknown

A new Autocar truck bow-tie radiator emblem was introduced in 2019 following the style of the original 1919 emblem, see example shown above at the top of this post.

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