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Nothing New Under the Sun – Studebaker Electric Car Hauler

Occasionally finding background information on some early vehicles can take almost as much time as some collectors spend trying to find one. Such is the case of this 1910 Studebaker electric “Automobile Transfer Motor Truck” which maybe the first truck of its type used for moving cars.

Two years ago the same image was found in the Recent Automotive News” section of “The Automobile,” May 19, 1910, issue. The publications only description of it was “An example of the utility of the big modern truck.” Yesterday while researching a different subject the same press photo along with a description below of this unique rig was found in the “Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal” April 4, 1910, issue with a 1910 Studebaker seven-passenger touring car on its bed.

The earliest truck found to date hauling a car is a 1904 Grout Steam Truck, and recently a circa 1910 Packard Truck was featured.

We will return after the Columbus Day weekend on Tuesday morning.



  •                “Horseless Age” March 1910, illustration of a Studebaker-Garford “40” h.p. touring car.


6 responses to “Nothing New Under the Sun – Studebaker Electric Car Hauler

  1. This seems a bit odd to me. Electric vehicles did not have much range in this era, maybe 40 miles. This heavy truck might have had less. Plus, after making a delivery, it would need to get back home. So now we are talking 20 miles out at best, slow miles too. Why not just drive the car to its delivery point? If it was damaged, I could see hauling it but the car looks brand new. For cargo, I could see using this truck for in-city deliveries maybe from a factory to the railroad freight yard. But it doesn’t seem to make sense to haul a new car a short distance on this truck. I must be missing something.

    • I would think it would be used more often to bring a broken down car to the garage. My grandfather was born in 1895 in NYC and told stories of him and the neighborhood kids chasing after the few cars they saw and yelling, “get a horse!”. Then when broken down cars were hauled by a team of horses back to the garage they were mercilous in taunting the owner. This would be a nice way to avoid that!

  2. A couple of thoughts:

    1) Everyone in the neighborhood would know if you got a new car.

    2) Remember, there was a very highly developed rail network in the US at the time. It likely wasn’t too far a drive from a rail station to the selling dealer. I grew up in Ashland, PA in coal-mining country. New cars were delivered by rail through at least the 1930’s . Rail service was gone by the time I was a child (born in 1954) but I do have a film showing the local Buick dealer getting cars at the Ashland rail station.

    3) NYC had a very well-developed electric vehicle network at the time. Many businesses and even hotels had electric vehicles to move goods and people at the time. There was a network of charging stations and batteries could be exchanged without too much effort.

    And, yet again, thanks for what you do.

    • Trucks were not used for long distance work until beginning in the 30s and 40s. Rail was far more efficient because the trucks were pretty slow. Solid tire trucks topped out at about 15 -20 MPH. It wasn’t until pnuematic tires for trucks were perfected that they could start cruising between cities at 30-40 MPH. Truck drivers from back then would be stunned to see what large trucks can do today.

      • There was also the road problem.

        In the early days, trains moved when it rained or when the roads were muddy. Trucks didn’t.

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