The Clipper Steam car evolved from the Michigan Steam that was built before in Grand Rapids. It was nearly identical to the design developed by Cartercar Byron C. Carter'. The Clipper was developed by Elmer Pratt. His plan was to take over the old Clipper bicycle plant in Grand Rapids and to combine the good reputation of these vehicles with the steam car.
Pratt renamed the Michigan Automobile Company the Clipper Automobile Company. Funded with a stock capital of $400,000, it failed.