The Autocar Company was there when the American Automobile industry was born. In 1897, the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company was founded. In the same year, the company started to build a 3-wheel cycle that was powered by gasoline, and today, that vehicle has been included in the Smithsonian Automobile Collection.
By 1899, Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company became the Autocar Company. Autocar was based in Ardmore, Pennsylvania that successfully produced one of the earliest gasoline-powered vehicles during a time that was ruled by electric and steam-powered cars. Autocar was recognized as contributing to a number of the earliest automobile innovations such as the ceramic-insulated spark plug, a rear axle that is connected to a driveshaft, and one of the earliest circulating oil systems. The 1st Autocar Runabout featured a horizontally opposed two-cylinder engine installed under the seat and was known for being an extremely well-designed vehicle. In 1899, Autocar built their 1st truck that significantly contributed to their success. After 1911, Autocar changed their focus from automobiles to purpose-built trucks that propelled the company’s success.
In 1905, Autocar created a new design that featured a vertical four-cylinder engine mounted on the front of the car. The car also had a unique six-spoke steering wheel that had a built in throttle and spark controls to make it easier to operate. By 1907, the car was named as the Type XIV 5-Passenger Touring car that had 30 horsepower. The Type XIV was powered by a 255.4 ci straight vertical 4-cylinder engine and is connected to a 3-speed sliding gear transmission, all the power is directed to the rear axle through a driveshaft. Type XIV had a 109-inch wheelbase chassis. The 1907 Type XIV was sold for $3,000 and was the 2nd most expensive Autocar model after to the Limousine.
This featured 1907 Autocar Type XIV with chassis #6775 is an extremely rare automobile with historic significance. It has been confirmed that this Type XIV is one out of 6 racers built, and the only one that is on the Autocar registry. Autocar was adamant in promoting the power of their 30hp 4-cylinder engine so they built 6 racing spec Type XIV. 6 Type XIV Touring chassis were converted to racing types at the assembly line, all 6 cars were driven by the factory’s demonstrators. In May 1907, a 30hp Type XIV became the champion of the Point Breeze Park 24-hour race in Philadelphia. This Type XIV has been confirmed as the one featured in a historic 1910 photograph taken by Orville Rand, a Boston Globe photographer before the 1910 race started at the famous Readville Trotting Track in Boston.
This last remaining 1907 Autocar Type XIV racer received a complete restoration in the 1970s and has been kept in great condition since then, it is a perfect example of a Brass Era racer. The restoration was done to the detail and mastery clearly shows even after several decades. The 3-seater body looks excellent in its bright blue finish with an accenting red paint on the wheels and chassis. The interior has a matching paint scheme. The beautiful brass trims also demand some attention. Other Brass Era details include Autocar name, huge radiator, Moto-meter, and 2 large Rushmore head lamps. Another 2 brass coach lamps are placed on each side of the car above the cowl; a Prestolite acetylene tank provides fuel for the lamps. The long steering column, horn, hand controls, and other trims are also made in shiny brass.
The dashboard is made of walnut that is beautifully done and looks excellent. This Type XIV is loaded with brass parts such as the wind-up clock built by the Chelsea Clock Company based in Boston, Massachusetts, oil gauge, pedals, passenger footrest, and a Bosch dual coil control. A drum-style speedometer is also made of brass built by the Warner Instrument Company. The engine bay also looks excellent. The engine is built with independent cylinders with each cylinder having a twin plug, and a brass intake manifold. All components are working and were restored with the correct parts.
A small plaque given by the Horseless Carriage Club of America is mounted on the dashboard as a recognition that this Autocar is a century old vehicle that played a significant part of the automobile history. This Autocar is a perfect example of earliest American automobile built by a very successful manufacturer that is still in perfectly working condition and extremely well-done restoration to every detail. Several brass era car clubs have recognized the significance of this car including the Horseless Carriage Club of America and Antique Automobile Club of America.
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