1904 Autocar Coal Truck

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Living in Ukraine, I have never heard of Autocar trucks. Even though I have been interested in cars since the 7th grade of school and know about such rare cars from the USA as McFarlan, Baker, Franklin, or Winton. I may have paid less attention to trucks, but thanks to Jay Leno, I also learned about Autocar cars.

This is a vintage 1904 Autocar Coal Truck. This truck was produced at the same time as the 1903 Winton 24h.p, or the 1906 Stevens-Duryea Model S. In both cases, the passenger cars were considerably more powerful, especially in the case of the Stevens-Duryea. But it’s worth realizing that these were some of the most expensive, and powerful, passenger cars of their time. The Autocar, on the other hand, was a relatively affordable truck that was not equipped with comfort equipment.

It may come as a surprise to many, but it was the first Autocar to feature ceramic spark plugs. It was also the first Autocar to have a rear axle gearbox. Whereas at the time, car manufacturers were using chain power transmission. Despite these innovations, the Autocar truck is not equipped with pneumatic tires, they are solid rubber.

Load capacity of 1904 Autocar Coal Truck is 2.5 tons. The truck shown on Jay Leno’s YouTube channel was used for coal transportation.

Appearance and photos of Autocar Coal Truck.

Just from the photo you can immediately realize that this is a maximally, utilitarian vehicle. The front headlights run on acetylene and are lit with a match, which was the norm for the time. Wooden, artillery-type rims were also the norm. And the rear tires have special holes into which metal spikes can be screwed in the winter.

Pay attention to the shape of the frame, look at how it is curved at the front of the car. Thus the frame also acts as a front bumper. Fenders are provided only on the front wheels, the cargo board is made of wood. The cabin does not even have a roof and windshield.

Interior and equipment of the 1904 Autocar Coal Truck.

Pay attention to the layout of the driver’s seat. It is installed almost in front of the front axle. The steering wheel is installed on the right side and there is no heater in the cab, the presence of which in a fully open cab would probably be pointless. I can imagine how warmly the driver of such a truck had to dress, because his hands and feet could get very cold in such a truck.

The gearbox and parking brake lever is outside the cab, which was also the norm for cars of that time. In the area of the driver’s legs one can notice the radiator cap.
The cab has two separate seats with very low backrests. The fuel tank is mounted right behind the seats, and the engine is mounted under the seat. In this way the Autocar resembles later cabovers.

Engine and specifications of the 1904 Autocar Coal Truck.

The two-cylinder engine of the Autocar coal truck has an opposed arrangement of cylinders. The engine has two flywheels and develops 18 horsepower. This truck has a very low idle speed of about 125 rpm. The engine is equipped with Champion spark plugs. The truck is not equipped with a battery and uses a magneto to start the engine.

There are two mufflers under the body, brakes are only on the rear axle and of course – mechanical. The gearbox is a three-speed manual.

It’s a very unusual car. I can’t imagine anyone using a car like this for work today. But it’s incredible to see Jay Leno driving this vintage truck with modern, mass-produced cars on the road. It’s amazing! And I’m glad that thanks to this enthusiast, I’m learning about cars that are new to me.

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