Every car lover will know that throughout automobile history, vehicles have been shipped worldwide. Whether it is travelling across the country or the across the globe, every car has journeyed many miles before it gets driven. Have you ever wondered how they managed to ship cars all those years ago? Here is everything you need to know about the history of car shipping.
The Beginnings of Auto Transportation
Car shipping has been around ever since the first automobile was invented. The original automobiles were manufactured in Europe, mainly in France and Germany in the 1800s. Vehicle manufacturing remained a largely euro-centered enterprise until the second half of the 20th century when Henry Ford started mass producing General Motors in America.
Due to the high costs, there wasn’t a huge demand for cars in the United States during the 19th century. While the majority of the population remained without cars, some more wealthy members of society did invest in automobiles. When vehicles reached America, they were transported on railroads, which was a costly and time-consuming process. It wasn’t until the car designer and inventor Alexander Winton engineered the first auto carrier in 1898 that Americans were more easily able to purchase vehicles.
Winton was originally from Scotland but moved to America intending to design and manufacture cars. Winton quickly identified the inefficiency of transporting automobiles via railway. Realizing that driving each vehicle individually would not do, he invented a solution: the semi-truck. This truck differed greatly from the car carrier trailers seen on the roads today. Winton attached a flatbed cart to the back of a motor carrier which he used to haul one car at a time.
The Henry Ford Effect
Henry Ford changed the car manufacturing game. His process of mass production meant that he was able to sell cars that the general American population could afford. The Model T Ford was originally sold for $300, shockingly cheap when compared to the thousand dollar price tags of European cars. The Model T successfully bought vehicle ownership into the mainstream, so much so that by the end of 1928 there was almost one car for every four American people.
Coping with Increased Demand
Despite its time and cost benefits, Winton’s truck could only transport one vehicle at a time, which was not enough for the high demand of the 1940s. Despite the cost, car manufactures turned again to the railways to transport their goods across the country. Global car shipping started to become more common during this period, with the use of freight planes and ships.
During the 1950s, companies found a way of making the railways a more effective means of auto transportation, with the newly invested double-layered railroad carriers. By the 1960s there were tri-level railroad carriers, which were able to transport 12 cars at one time.
The sophisticated auto-carrier trucks that are being driven by Ship A Car, Inc have evolved from the invention of Alexander Winton. By the 1940s, Winton’s two-wheeled truck became a four-place quad trailer. In the 1950s companies were using the chassis and trailer set up, which is prevalent in today’s vehicles. The evolution of auto haulers continued and, by the 1960s these trucks were able to carry up to eight cars.
Car shipping has come a long way in 100 years. Unless the car is being transported overseas, it will travel almost exclusively by car carrier trucks. There are now whole companies dedicated to car shipping whose whole existence is to make sure your vehicle gets to you as quickly and safely as possible.