Now known for its modern vocational trucks, the Autocar Company once epitomized Brass Era luxury and innovation. Founded as the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company in 1897, Autocar quickly solidified a reputation for spearheading significant engineering improvements that would later become standard in contemporary automobiles, such as the modern, porcelain-insulated sparkplug, an oil circulation system, and a shaft-driven system for both cars and heavy-duty vehicles. Beginning with an experimental, gasoline-powered tricycle—the Autocar I, now in the Smithsonian Automobile Collection—Autocar quickly branched out to more practical automobiles and by 1911 had switched completely to commercial truck production. The runabouts and other vehicles produced in that early decade, however, made a tremendous impact on the development of early automobiles.
This 1907 XIV is a rare find that exemplifies the creativity of Autocar engineers. Fully restored in the 1970s, this dealership demonstrator #6775 has a touring chassis that was factory modified into a racer to make it ideal for both sales presentations and early car racing. The 4.2-litre, 4-cylinder engine and 3-speed transmission give the racer enough power to impress on the track while providing a driveability you can still enjoy today. In the early 20th century, Autocar encouraged dealers to race these vehicles to demonstrate their rugged reliability and, of course, to show off the company’s brand new 4-cylinder engine. In fact, it was a Type XIV that won the 24-hour race at Point Breeze Park in Philadelphia in May of 1907, finishing 55 miles ahead of the second-place competitor.
This particular vehicle, as seen in a circa 1910 photograph by Boston Globe photographer Orville Rand, raced at Readville Race Track in Massachusetts for a Boston dealership before falling off the radar for a number of years. In 1963, an antique automobile enthusiast looking for an exciting new project found this roadster forgotten in the woods and became dedicated to its total and transformational restoration. The distinctive blue and red color scheme—accented by bold, brass detailing—was part of this refurbishment and captures the intrepid spirit of Brass Era America. Of the only six factory-demo racers built by Autocar, this is widely accepted as the only one still in existence and is the only one listed on the official Autocar registry. This distinguished vehicle is in excellent condition, and would be the perfect complement to any Brass Era or historic racing collection.
*Sale prices are inclusive of the buyers premium