Posted on 02/16/22

The History Of Car Shipping

The History Of Car Shipping

Earliest auto transport

Alexander Winton, the first auto hauler

The origins of car shipping can be traced back to the invention and use of automobiles. In the 19th century, cars were expensive luxury items imported from Europe. Because of their high price, there wasn't much demand for cars. Car shipping was necessary due to the distance between buyers, dealers, and manufacturers.

The railroads were the main means of transporting cars in the 19th century. This was expensive and took a long time due to the fact that the American transportation infrastructure was still very young. Alexander Winton, inventor and car designer, invented the first automobile carrier in 1898. This was just a few years after he had made the first American sale of an automobile.

Winton, originally from Scotland, moved to America to sell and design his cars. He invented the semi-truck after realizing that transportation by railroad was too expensive and time-consuming. Also, it wasn't practical to drive each car individually to all the buyers, who were located all over the country.

He attached a cart that had two wheels to the back and a flatbed on the top to one of his motor carriages. Then he placed the motor carrier that he had just sold on the cart and drove it to his buyer.

Henry Ford and mass auto production

Many people don't know that Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile. Ford also did not invent mass production and the assembly line. However, he did invent the first car Americans could afford.

Cars cost more than a thousand dollars at the time, which was a high price that most Americans couldn't afford. Henry Ford created the Model T and eventually integrated the assembly line into the production process, so it was only three hundred dollars.

The automotive industry boomed after he did this. In 1928, nearly one car was sold in America for every four persons.

Vehicle transport is in high demand


The demand for auto transport increased as more people bought cars around the world in the 20th Century. Railroads had to make every effort to fit as many cars on their trains as possible by the 1940s. This was, however, just like fifty years ago, still too expensive for buyers and dealers.

In the 1950s, several automobile companies and transportation companies developed two-level flat cars that could carry cars for trains. Volkswagen was the first to create a flatcar that could transport ten cars on its two levels.

This revolutionized car shipping. In 1960, tri-level railroads were operating twelve cars at once.

Auto transport by air and sea

Auto transport in the air and on the sea began to pick up at the same time. The large freight planes were increasingly in demand, and they were used to ship cars. This was and is still the most expensive way to ship a car.

Many cargo ships were modified in order to accommodate as many cars as possible within a short time. Interior ramps were built on the inside of cargo ships to allow cars to be driven from the dock to their places on the boat.

Auto Haulers

Importantly, the actual automobile haulers you see on the roads have evolved over the years. These trucks were developed by Alexander Winton into quad-trailers for four-place vehicles in the late 1940s, after the invention of the first auto carrier.

There were many interesting designs on these auto carriers. Many of these auto carriers had elaborate art-deco elements on their trailers in the 1950s. Early auto carriers were reminiscent of tanks that were built in a junkyard to transport people around a post-apocalyptic future. This was the wild west when it came to car haulers, and you can see some of them. The chassis and trailer configuration was a constant, and are still used on some carriers today.

In the 1960s, we started to see more traditional-looking auto carriers on the roads. They could carry up to eight cars in close, carefully planned and placed proximity.

Modern car shipping

The modern vehicle shipping process is very different from what it was in the past. If you take a look at the entire auto transport system, you will see how far we have come in just over 100 years. Today, most auto shipping is done by car carrier trucks with the exception of international shipments.

There are also a number of companies that specialize in auto transport. All car shipping used to be done via general freight companies back in the beginning. Because companies are now shipping cars only, it is better.

Move Car has been in business for some time and has the experience and know-how to transport your car anywhere you need it to be in the United States. Get a free quote today