January 14, 2024


Autocar Co. (1901-1912)
Ardmore, Pennsylvania

This is an Autocar Type XXIV radiator emblem (1911-1912)  tcc
Size: 130mm wide 32mm high    MM: None

Louis Semple Clarke built a single-cylinder gasoline powered tricycle in 1897 and set up the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company. His next motor vehicle was a four-wheel gasoline powered runabout built in 1898. The business was moved to Ardmore and in 1899 the company was renamed the Autocar Company.

The first production Autocars appeared in 1901 and were 6 hp two-cylinder passenger cars offered in runabout and phaeton body styles. In the following year, Autocar introduced 8-1/2 hp two-cylinder models, which are believed to have been the first American cars with more than one cylinder to have shaft drive. The first four-cylinder model appeared in 1905 with the 16/20 hp Autocar Type XI side entrance tonneau. 

Autocar began to experiment with commercial vehicles in 1907 and 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 Autocars did not carry an emblem but did display the Autocar logo, see below, on a small serial plate usually mounted under the driver's seat.

The Autocar logo

From 1903, the Autocar carried a small "Autocar" nameplate emblem usually mounted at the rear of the vehicle, see un-restored Autocar runabout shown below. Later Autocar models displayed this nameplate in other locations.

This is an un-restored Autocar runabout (1903)    ms

Autocar nameplate (1903)   ms

This is the painted pressed metal Autocar nameplate shown below. This Autocar nameplate is rare.

This is an Autocar nameplate (1903-1908)    mjs
Size: 83mm wide 25mm high    MM: None

The "Autocar" name was also displayed on the hubcaps, but early Autocar hubcaps did not use the Autocar logo until about 1904, see examples shown below:

This is an Autocar hubcap (1901-1903)    ms

This is an Autocar hubcap (c1904)    dkc

This is an Autocar hub emblem (c1912)   mjs
Size: 50mm diameter

The following is an example of an early Autocar serial plate , which was usually mounted under the driver's seat but sometimes mounted on the body side:

This is an Autocar serial plate (1904)   conceptcarz

The following original photo from 1905 shows an Autocar and an Autocar chassis at an auto show. The Autocar has the serial plate attached to the body side adjacent to the driver's entrance, see close-up.

Autocar and chassis at an auto show (1905)   dpl

Autocar close-up showing serial plate on body side (1905)

The "Autocar" name was also displayed on the sill plates and step plates from about 1906, see examples shown below:

This is an Autocar sill plate (c1906)   ms

This is an Autocar Type X step plate (1906)   conceptcarz 

The following original photo from 1910 shows an Autocar with a brass "The Autocar" script mounted on the front of the radiator:

Autocar displaying "The Autocar" radiator script (1910)  dpl

This is a brass "The Autocar" radiator script. Original Autocar radiator scripts are rare.

This is an Autocar radiator script (1910-1912)   sam
Size: 306mm wide 

The following original photo of a Autocar Type XXII touring car appears to show a round emblem in the center of the radiator tank top, although this is not clear and may be a blemish in the radiator. However, if this is indeed a radiator emblem, it would be the first Autocar radiator emblem and , if found, would be extremely rare.

Autocar Type XXII with possible radiator emblem (1910)  hcg

An Autocar radiator emblem certainly appeared in 1911 for the Type XXIV, see Autocar advertisement and original period Autocar Type XXIV photos shown below:

Autocar Type XXIV ad showing new rad emblem (1911)  ms

"The Autocar" logo appears to be in a much darker color than the two stars in this advertisement, probably black. However, the only Autocar emblems with this design found so far have "The Autocar" finished in the same color as the two stars. This lighter color is confirmed in the following original photos and in the 1911 Autocar brochure, see below: 

Autocar Type XXIV with radiator emblem (1911)   hcg

Autocar Type XXIV showing rad emblem (1911)  hcg

Autocar Type XXIV showing "The Autocar" script (1911)    tcc  

The Autocar Type XXIV Brochure Cover (1911)   tcc

Autocar Type XXIV radiator from brochure (1911)  tcc

This is the transparent red and opaque white enamel Autocar Type XXIV radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Autocar radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is an Autocar Type XXIV radiator emblem (1911-1912)  tcc
Size: 130mm wide 32mm high    MM: None

This was most probably the first and certainly the last radiator emblem used on an Autocar passenger car, as Autocar concentrated exclusively on commercial vehicles after 1912.

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