The History of Automobile Transportation
If you are interested in auto shipping and are shopping around for quotes, learning a little bit of its history might come in handy. This will help you be as informed as possible and you will walk away with some interesting knowledge of the transportation industry that dates back even to the 1500s!
First let’s take a look at the parent of the industry: the invention of the car.
The Invention of Automobiles and Transportation Devices:
The earliest automobile on record is perhaps the Fardier, a steam powered vehicle that was built in 1771 by Nicholas Cugnot for the French Minister of war. However, the challenge in operating it coupled with its slow speed of only 2.3 mph, made the vehicle fail to go into production. But let’s give credit where credit is due, seeming as this got the wheels turning for another French inventor, Amedee Bollee. Over a whole century later, in 1873, Amedee Bollee built an upgraded 12 passenger steam car. However, this version also proved impractical because steam engines simply weren’t able to keep up with the speeds of the common horse and buggy.
By the early 1900s the Germans and the Americans had their chance to shine with the invention of the gasoline powered automobile. The Germans built the first gasoline powered cars, or motor cars, with great ingenuity. They (the vehicles) had a two cylinder gas engine, a four speed transmission, and could travel up to 10 mph. But it was the Americans that are credited with the first line of cars to be mass produced. The curved Dash Oldsmobile in 1901, built by Ransom Olds; and the first official assembly line mass produced vehicle, the Model T built by Henry Ford in 1908.
The Development to Modern Day Auto Shipping:
By the 1930s, mass production of vehicles had reached the millions. It was around this time that the transportation industry really gained popularity. In the early days, ships, trucks, planes, and railways were used to transport goods such as food, fuel, and clothing. With vehicles being mass produced and in high demand, it wasn’t long before they were also added to the list. Auto Dealers looking to purchase vehicles found that rail shipping was inefficient; taking too long and costing too much. This was the birth of the auto shipping industry.
The ‘labor pains’ were indeed great when auto dealers were often forced to find other more efficient methods of transporting vehicles. Earlier in the century semi-trucks were being used with varying degrees of success but nothing that proved successful long term until the early 1960s. During the 40s and 50s railroads were using boxcars to transport as many vehicles as possible. Over half a century of trial and error later, German engineers designed the first auto carrier rack that could carry up to ten vehicles at a time. This was later improved on by Canadian engineers who designed enclosed bi-level carriers, similar to the traditional boxcars but with two floors and closed at both ends. Railway methods are still used to this day.
The auto shipping industry really took off in the 1980s and has been steadily growing for the past several decades; and ever since then railway methods were largely replaced in favor of big trucks and car trailers. However, Sea and Air freight are still the most popular modes used for any overseas auto shipping.
Modern Day Auto Shipping:
Modern day shipping uses the latest transit technology, offering door to door transport, insurance coverage, custom made service, hassle free shipping, as well as new features that allow the car to be located en route.
Cutting edge technology includes options between open vs. enclosed auto carriers, for when weather and other external factors are to be considered. This ties in to custom services that allow you to ship different types of vehicles, including luxury cars, with drivers having expert experience in handling them. For added safety, companies offer different insurance policies to choose from. Choosing the right one depends on your personal situation, budget, and vehicle type. Hassle free shipping means you no longer have to take care of the delivery details on your own. Companies carry much of the responsibility for safe transportation of your vehicle, even offering before, after, and during transit inspections. In addition, finding a shipping company is also easier than it used to be. Most companies can be found online and offer quotes right off their websites. This allows you to do background research and shop around for the best prices before you make your final decision.
Indeed much has changed since the early years of the auto shipping industry. And it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of extra knowledge on its history while you do your research. The auto shipping industry continues to grow, and like technology, is always evolving.