The genesis of the Autocar lies in a motor tricycle on De Dion-Bouton lines made by Lewis S Clark of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, supposedly in 1897. A limited number of tricycles and cars were sold under the Pittsburgh name and in 1900 Lewis established the Autocar Company in nearby Ardmore. Cars of conventional American layout for the period with mid-mounted one-cylinder engines, single chain drive, and central tiller steering, sold in small numbers with production only slowly getting into its stride, and never exceeding 1000 cars per annum.
Matters improved with the introduction during 1901 of a two-cylinder car having shaft drive, regarded as an American 'first', and the steering and control pillar was now mounted on the left-hand side of the car, Autocar being among the first American makes to adopt left-hand drive. Optional wheel steering was available for 1904 and the cars took on a more European appearance. Commercial vehicles were introduced in 1907 and Autocar trucks became familiar the world over, the business being taken over by White in 1953.