New Truck Company Carries Venerable Name

The newest company in the heavy-duty truck industry has a name that represents more than 100 years of achievements. Autocar LLC was formed in July 2001, when parent company Grand Vehicle Works Holdings LLC (GVW) purchased the Autocar name and the Xpeditor truck line from Volvo Trucks North America Inc. As Autocar LLC, the company will combine Autocar's name with an established product line, the Xpeditor, a Class 8 low-cab-over-engine (LCOE) truck.

In 1897, the original Autocar company began as the Pittsburgh Motor Car Co. Founded by brothers Louis and John Clark, the company's first vehicle was a gas-powered tricycle. Two years later, the Clarks moved the company to Ardmore PA and renamed the firm Autocar.

The company began focusing on trucks in 1907, with the introduction of a two-ton truck with shaft-driven axle. Autocar was the first truck manufacturer to build wheels with wooden instead of wire spokes. It offered its first commercial vehicle in 1908. As a truck manufacturer, Autocar:

  • Was the first company to mass-produce a truck with forward control (in which more than half the engine length is behind the furthest-front point of the windshield base and the steering wheel hub is in the first quarter of the vehicle length).

  • Offered the first four-cylinder-engine forward-control truck.

  • Was one of the few truck manufacturers to make its own engines, transmissions, and rear axles.

In 1953, the White Motor Car Co purchased a controlling interest in Autocar and moved the company to Exton PA. In 1981 Volvo purchased White, renamed it Volvo White Truck Corp, and retained the Autocar name. After July 1995, Volvo continued to use the Autocar emblem on heavy-construction trucks, and in 1997, Autocar marked its 100th anniversary.

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