In 1898 the 'Mo-Car Syndicate Ltd' of Glasgow was registered, with financial backing from the Coats cotton family and Sir William Arrol, civil engineer and builder of the Forth Bridge, with George Johnston as the engineering director, to manufacture Arrol-Johnston motor carriages, the first of which was sold around the end of 1899.
Large, high, and horse-drawn in appearance, with substantial artillery wheels shod with solid-rubber tyres, the cars were also technically unorthodox. The rear-mounted engine had only two horizontal cylinders but four pistons, a pair to each cylinder, working in opposition to each other with combustion taking place between them. Cars of this pattern continued in production until 1905, and in that year a more modern looking car but fitted with the old pattern engine at the front won the first Tourist Trophy race, beating a Rolls-Royce into second place.
Arrol-Johnstons sold steadily throughout the 'Edwardian' era, particularly the four-cylinder 15.9hp with its dashboard radiator that was produced from 1909 until 1915. Post-war saw the onset of a long decline which an amalgamation with Aster in 1927 failed to halt.