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Lot 753
1903 Autocar Rear Entrance Tonneau Chass

Sold for US$ 55,775 inc. premium

MOTOR CARS

18 Sep 2004, 10:00 PDT

San Francisco

1903 Autocar Rear Entrance Tonneau
Chassis no. 1288
A company with a name like Autocar deserved to be successful in producing automobiles. It was successful, but only up to the point when the firm's leaders determined that the key to success was in concentrating exclusively on the production of commercial vehicles.

The fame of Autocar may be built on the successful and long-lived trucks built by the firm, but the reason for their mention here is for their automobiles. Lewis, John and James Clark - with the financial backing of father Charles - commenced building cars in Pittsburgh in 1897 with the establishment of the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company. The Pittsburgh started life as a three or four-wheeled vehicle with chain drive.

At the turn of the century, the brothers Lewis moved to nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and the Autocar Company was born. Production for 1901 constituted 27 cars and in 1902, according to The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 the company abandoned chain drive and was the first American automobile to combine a two-cylinder engine and shaft drive.

The model for 1903 was the Type VII, which continued the tradition of exceptional quality. The air-cooled, two-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine was now producing 10 horsepower, but tiller steering still directed its movement. In an unusual move, body options were reduced from three to just one: a rear entrance tonneau. This very attractive package rolled on wooden artillery wheels.

This particular Autocar dates from 1903 and is a very nice older restoration. The rear body and fender are wood, the trim and radiator feature nickel plating and the lamps are brass. The electrical control box for this Pennsylvania car is made by the Connecticut Telephone & Electric Company.
Auction information

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