1912 Auto-Carrier

1912 Auto-Carrier


Part of the collection of Pat & Harry Kraemer's rare European three wheel cars and motorcycles.

Click here for a slide show of vehicles currently in the collection

The Kraemer family is the third family to own this rare vehicle.

Enjoy these two YouTube videos showing the AC Sociable, the passenger version of our delivery trike.

Our research shows that this is most likely the oldest running AC in the world.

Total production was about 1500 vehicles
Here is a message we received from a Facebook friend regarding the number that still exists: We have a list from the AC Owners Club (probably 1980s) which mentions 7, 2 in Australia and 5 here (yours was then owned by DJW Penrose of Coventry). One of them (LD6873) is the one which ended up in John Moir's collection as a very grand 3 seater forecar, having been converted in the US. Our list shows Gerald Planus, who took it to the US, as owning another as well, reg. no. LK4798. Perhaps he took both with him? Paul Spencer's website http://www.acsociable.byethost4.com/wordpress/ only shows photographs of 3, and the last of them, in Australia, is not on our old list. I think his information is from a later version of the ACOC list. Incidentally our old list gives your chassis no as 1595, while Paul's shows 1683.

The lettering on this vehicle replicates a factory owned Auto Carrier of the early 1900s. The manufacturer, Autocars and Accessories Ltd. started making this type of vehicle in 1904. They called it an Auto Carrier. The company name was changed to Auto-Carriers Ltd. in 1907. Thames Ditton (location of an early factory) is a village on the River Thames in the Elmbridge borough of Surrey, England.

Click here for Paul Spencer's website on the AC Delivery and Sociable

Click here for the Three Wheel Association page

For information on where this vehicle will be shown see http://flymall.org/planes/ and under the flight training section click on Appearances & Class Schedule. This section is found under the Kraemer Aviation page of Flymall.org

Frederick News Post article about the AC

Reference books:
Classic ACs Auto-Carrier to Cobra by John McLellan
The History of AC Cars Ltd

Show & Award history (31 awards and honors):

Certified by the Dating Committee of The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as a vehicle manufactured in 1912

June AACA Junior Award
Oct AACA Senior Award

The vehicle was invited to be shown at the AC Owner's 50th Anniversary celebration in England

Invited to the Castle Hill d' Elegance

2015 - Won trophies/awards at 6 out of 7 shows attended
First Place in Class (Antique Three Wheeler) @ Timonium Motorcycle Show
Best Antique of Show @ Timonium Motorcycle Show
Featured in March 2015 Motorcycle Monthly
Bob's BMW Show - Dealer's Choice Award
Bob's BMW Show - Judge's Choice - Best Vintage Motorcycle
First Place in British Specials at British & European Bike Day May 2015
Appeared on season opener of Chasing Classic Cars May 12 2015
Second Place in class at British Car Day 2015
Featured in Frederick News Post article about British Car Day
Best European Bike @ Gettysburg Bike Week July 11 2015
First Place @ Laurel Lions Club Show in Special Interest
Featured in Autumn 2015 issue of Vintage Bike Magazine

Best Motorcycle at AOPA's Wings N Wheels Show
Featured on AOPA's Wings N Wheels website (twice featured, once for pre show advertisement and once after the show)

2017 (Won awards at every show attended)
Invited to be displayed at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum "A salute to the history of the great AC Sports Car" display/event.
Featured in Hemmings article - AC Cars Retrospective Jan 2017
Top 5 Motorcycle Award at Simple Transport 10
People's Choice Award at Simple Transport 10

First Place at District Harley Davidson Motorcycle Show

Laytonsville Cruise In June - First Place Vintage Motorcycle

First place Vintage motorcycle @ MDO Cycles Show 06-13-2021
First Place Motorcycle @ Laytonsville Cruise In October 2021

Best In Show @ Classic Motorcycle Day May 22 2022
1st Place Trike @ Frederick Harley Davidson Hogs & Heroes Show July 16

Selected as opening picture on Classic Motorcycle Day site for their 2023 award winners

First Place @ Classic Motorcycle Day May 19 2024

5.5 bhp, 631 cc air-cooled side-valve single-cylinder engine, two-speed epicyclic gearbox, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, single rear wheel with dual quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and mechanical brakes on gearbox and rear wheel. Wheelbase: 70 in.

•From the collection of John Moir
•The ancestor of all modern AC automobiles
•Purchased by Mr. Moir from the family of its original owner
•Beautifully restored by David Steinman

The marque AC traces its roots to 1900, when John Weller, an ambitious engineer, and John Portwine, a Norwood butcher, went into business to build motor cars. Weller had some experience in automobile production, as he had already been making motorcycles with his brothers at West Norwood. Weller and Portwine had built a car, which was exhibited at the 1903 motor show, it but failed to reach the market. Instead, they decided to concentrate on the commercial market and designed a three-wheel delivery box van, which was launched in 1905. The firm Autocars and Accessories Ltd. was formed to separate this venture from Weller’s motorcycle business. The vans were called Auto-Carriers, and their utility was such that they were immediately successful and taken up by such merchants as Boots, Maples, United Yeast, and Aerated Bread, the latter having a fleet of 70.

The engine was an air-cooled, single-cylinder unit of 631 cubic centimeters, which was mounted behind the operator’s seat. The “business end,” comprising of about 40 cubic feet of capacity, was forward, with the driver sitting behind and steering with a side tiller. For distribution of goods in towns, it was most efficient, and more than 1,500 were built by 1912.

Here is a YouTube video of the AC running

Mr. Moir reports that he acquired this Box Van from a British owner who had inherited it from his grandfather, who had bought it new. It had been officially dated as a 1912 by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain in 1956, as is noted in a certificate found in the file.

David Steinman, of Waitsfield, Vermont, expertly restored the van to its original condition, including recreating the damaged original cargo box. In the Moir library, a book was found with a photograph of the Autocars and Accessories Ltd. factory box van, and the livery and lettering of that vehicle were recreated here. The restored vehicle presents absolutely beautifully, with tight, fresh black leather, sparkling polished brass trim, and rich, deep paint. All accessories throughout are original and authentic, with three spare brass lamps included.

This Box Van is the ideal vehicle to complete any collection of historic commercial vehicles or AC automobiles, as it is one of the rarest AC products and the one with which a great name got its start.

Click here for pictures of a Honda Delivery Motorcycle similar to the AC

BMW made a similar vehicle - BMW Dreirad Lieferwagen

Here is our 1912 AC and 2012 Mazda Miata - 100 years apart.

Miata & AC

Tags: AC Delivery Trike, 1912 AC
Equipment Specifications
ManufacturerAuto Carrier - AC
ModelDelivery Box Van
Detailed Information
Engine Specs
5.5 bhp, 631 cc air-cooled side-valve single-cylinder engine, two-speed epicyclic gearbox

The oil should be about midway in the crankcase. The engine depends
on splash for lubrication as there is no oil pump. I wouldn't bring the
level up more than an inch or so below the opening.
Additional Equipment
Working brass oil burning lamps
Detailed Description
AC Cars Ltd. formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd., is a British specialist automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest independent car makers founded in Britain. The Weller brothers of West Norwood in London went into business around 1900 with a butcher named John Portwine, intending to build motor cars. The first vehicle they built was a 20hp touring car shown at the Crystal Palace Motor Show of 1903 under the Weller name. Portwine, fearing that the 20hp would be too expensive to produce, encouraged Weller to build a three wheeler for the commercial market and the resulting delivery van was produced from 1904 by Autocars and Accessories Ltd.
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