Refrigerator magnet pictures a blazing battle during World War II. The picture is an illustration from a period advertisement for Autocar promoting an M3 personal vehicle equipped as a T28E1 CGMC combination gun anti-aircraft version with a 37mm cannon and a pair of .50 caliber machine guns. The illustration shows the M3 firing at planes overhead, giving cover to soldiers advancing on the ground. According to the accompanying text, the M3 brought down 75 German planes in Tunisia. It was also used in Cicily, Italy and at Normandy. Initial response to the unit was poor, largely because it was improperly expected to perform like a tank. Its reputation improved as its strengths were better understood and utilized.
Founded in 1897 as the Pittsburgh Motor vehicle Company, Autocar left cars behind in 1911 and concentrated on heavy duty trucks. It had built the first motorized trucks sold in America in 1899. The company founder, Louis Semple Clarke (1867-1957) was an engineer who made his mark on automotive history by patenting the process to insulate spark plugs with porcelain (the patent eventually sold to Champion), as well as important improvements to drive shafts and oil circulation systems.
Autocar suffered during the Depression but rose to the challenge during World War II.
In 1953, Autocar was acquired by the White Motor Company, that in 1980 was acquired by Volvo, that in 2001 was acquired by GVW Group.
Today's Autocar is based in Hagerstown, Indiana, where 300 workers produce Class 8 severe duty trucks.