Autocar Celebrates 100-Year Milestone of Vocational Truck Series

Autocar builds premium quality, custom-engineered OEM trucks, collaborating with customers in refuse and recycling, terminal tractors, construction and concrete, road maintenance, aircraft support, and military support.

Autocar Logo

2021 marks the 100th year of America’s oldest truck brand, Autocar, purpose-built vocational trucks. After the debut of “Autocar No. 1,” a single-cylinder gasoline-powered tricycle in 1897, Autocar and its founder Louis Semple Clarke saw a need to develop innovative custom-engineered trucks to provide purpose-built tools for the most demanding commercial and municipal customers. By 1921, Autocar offered three truck models with capacities ranging from 1-1/2 to 6 tons, various wheelbases, and conventional and engine-under-the-seat designs.

“Knowing that the Autocar brand represents 100 years of dedication to the vocational truck industry, we at Autocar truly understand the challenges that go into building heavy-duty trucks that are always up,” says Tim Thornton, vice president of strategy and commercialization for Autocar. “Autocar is unlike any other truck manufacturer because everything we do is focused on the success of our customers, and offering them support for the life of the truck.”

Autocar is unique in the industry because they start by collaborating with its customers to spec out the perfect tool for their job. From there, the vehicle is custom-built using pre-engineered parts, all designed for a specific application. Autocar’s approach is different from its competitors, who typically mass produce trucks, build to inventory sold through dealerships, and then rely on aftermarket modifications to ready them for severe-duty vocational applications. 

“From the brand’s inception in 1897 to becoming a major supplier of trucks for the military effort in World War II and to the trucks we produce now, we operate today under one mission. We take pride in our focus on severe-duty, vocational trucks, being very collaborative and offering exceptional service to our customers,” says James Johnston, President of Autocar.

Through its long history, Autocar pioneered a continuous stream of industry-shaping innovations and today is the only brand of Class-8 severe-duty cab-over trucks that are both American-made and American-owned. Today, Autocar builds four models of custom-engineered, severe-duty trucks and has regained leading positions in several vocational segments.

To learn more about Autocar’s centennial history and its series of heavy-duty vocational truck offers, visit