Autocar Mondays – Forbidden Sights

I don’t know about you but sometimes I have a hard time when it comes to figuring out the the age of certain Autocar Trucks. Is it a DC or a DK? Was built under the White Motor Company reign or during the times of Volvo? It can be confusing as the design we all love and know changed in only a few subtle ways over the years. So how can we tell by casual inspection? Read on.

Thanks to some helpful tips from George Murphy over at the Facebook group The Autocar Truck we learn to take notice of the smaller details that help us zero in on the year. To begin, take notice of the radiator and the presence or lack of a shell. Post 1980’s Autocars had a grill/radiator unit that appeared all as one piece. You’ll notice in the truck below this is not the case. There is an external protector while the curved top portion of the radiator meets the side supports at a flat surface. Next, move on to the doors and notice where the handle is located. If found near the top and resembling a handle that pulls down you most likely have located an older truck. Later models had the recessed spring latch style opener located toward the bottom of the door. Finally move your gaze to the bottom of the door. Is there a skirt? No skirt typically indicates an older model truck. This is also the location of the dead give away clue in the form of a Volvo White Corporation logo.

So, to sum up. The truck below does not appear to have a radiator skirt, it has high mounted door handles and is missing the door skirt. I would place this truck solidly in the pre 1980’s White Motor Company time span. The White labeled mirrors are one final solid clue.

Autocars Dump Truck

So what about these two? Well, we can’t see much of the doors but look at those radiators. Completely different from the truck above. Can I promise you that the tips above are 100% fool proof? Absolutely not. I have seen Autocars with high mounted door handles that have skirts. I have seen low mounted door handles with no skirts. You’ll always be guessing until you talk to the owner or see the door info plate.

Autocar Trucks

By the way, if you can get into the cab (legally of course) take a look at the interior. The first obvious clue, the white steering wheel with Autocar logo. Also the tachometer and speedometer should wear a styled WM for White Motor Company. This particular image comes from an Autocar Construcktor with proper radiator setup but paddle style door handles. See what a mean? Still, it’s a solid DC cab.


Well, I hope that clears a few things up? Thanks to Ryan for the top two photos. As always, if you have information or a point of view that can make things clearer please leave a comment below.

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