MOTOR CAR, a self-propelled freight or passenger vehicle adapted to run and be steered on ordinary roads. Most motor vehicles are propelled by internal combustion engines, but some are driven by steam and some by electric motors, although these are, almost entirely, limited to commercial service. This article is divided into two parts : (I) general description of the develop ment of the automobile with particular reference to conditions in the United States; and (2) a description of the motor car with particular reference to Europe.
In general, motor vehicles may be classified into three groups, according to the service they render. First, there are private passenger cars for transporting individuals, usually seven or fewer in number; second, commercial passenger vehicles for transporting a large number of persons; and third, commercial goods vehicles for transporting materials and goods. During the loth century in England, continental Europe, Dominion of Canada, and the United States, a wide variety of terms has been used to designate these three classes. The passenger
car has been called "motor car," "motor vehicle," "automo bile," "autocar," "auto," "car," "motor," etc. In 1940 "car" or "automobile" is commonly used in America, while elsewhere the term "car" is usual. The commercial passenger vehicle has been known as "omnibus," "charabanc," "motor-bus," "coach," and "bus." While all these terms are used more or less generally, the last, "bus," is used extensively in the United States and Canada and also to no small extent in England and on the Continent. At the present time the "charabanc" is an open vehicle for conveying tourists about, employed in Europe. "Lorry" is now distinctly the English and "truck" distinctly the American name for the commercial goods vehicle. Coaches, omnibuses and buses, and lorries and trucks are treated elsewhere. This article deals only with motor cars, or automobiles.