five of the world’s oldest electric cars to go under the hammer

1907 Baker Model M Roadster 900x600px
(photos: RM Auctions) Hershey Auction |

even though some of these vintage cars from the 1900s may look like horseless carriages but there’s no denying that there are certain alluring qualities about them. even more so if they are among the world’s oldest electric cars. yes, our forefathers had indeed dabbled in the possibility of electric powered automotive long before we started to think of it as a viable alternative power for our transports. as unbelievable as it may sound, some of these pioneer electric drive vehicles are still around and kicking, and will be going under the gavel in the upcoming Hershey Auction organized by RM Auctions. frankly, i didn’t think electric cars exist until recent years, so naturally, electric cars from the 1900s had me sit up and take notice. read along to find out more about these vintage electric cars.
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1903 Columbia Electric Surrey (Mark XIX)
1903 Columbia Electric Surrey 900x600px
(photos: RM Auctions) 1903 Columbia Electric Surrey | US$auction |

like all vintage cars, there are some pretty lengthy history to this vehicle manufactured by Columbia Automobile Company but we shall spare you the dreadful history lesson. this particular vintage electric car is powered by a dual direct-drive Edison DC motors and features solid front and rear axles with full-elliptic leaf springs, and mechanical brakes fitted to its rear wheels. it is the only known survivor of the Mark XIX Columbia model, making it an extremely rare collectable vehicle and is expected to fetch between $70,000 to $90,000.

1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham
1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham 900x600px
(photos: RM Auctions) 1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham | US$auction |

a tiller-steering vehicle clad in a mainly wooden body, this vintage electric car is powered by a single electric motor that drives the rear wheels and features a vis-a-vis seating arrangement like those found in the horse carriage days. ride comfort is provided by solid axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, while stopping duty is undertaken by a two-wheel mechanical drum brakes – both technologies that are common to the cars of that era. this particular vehicle is a true-blue Swiss built example that bears detail such as red paint job with yellow accents, brass trims, wooden fenders, and batteries and electrical components hidden underneath the seats. the 1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham is expected to reap between $70,000 to $90,000.

1907 Baker Model M Roadster
1907 Baker Model M Roadster 900x600px
(photos: RM Auctions) 1907 Baker Model M Roadster | US$auction |

i find this model particularly appealing, not only because it is a vintage electric but in a roadster form. though there isn’t much aerodynamic to talk about but it is probably one of the sleekest piece of automobile during its time. the Baker Model M Roadster is powered by a 48-volt electric motor that is good for 3.5 horses and features planetary transmission, solid front and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and mechanical drum brakes fitted to its two rear wheels. restored in 1999, this roadster features a long bonnet that’s common to the vehicle of that time, but instead of steam or gas engine, it conceals the electric propulsion system. other worthy mention is of course, the royal green paint job accented by brass bits and four very gorgeous white tires. this vehicle is also believe to be the only surviving example, and thus making it an extremely rare vintage electric roadster. it is expected to fetch between $70,000 to $90,000 when it goes under the hammer at the Hershey Auction on October 7, 2011.

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1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine (Model C)
1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine 600x363px
(photos: RM Auctions) 1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine | US$auction |

unlike previous three vintage models, the Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine has closed carriages and significantly longer wheelbase. fitted with a 80-volt Westinghouse DC motor with five-speed controller, the 1913 Argo Limo is shaft driven and features solid front and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs for ride comfort and a pair of mechanical drum brakes for stopping duty. sporting a dark green paint work that still exhibit a deep shine, this vintage electric comes fitted with 12-spoke wood artillery wheels, painted in matching color and shod with solid tires. the interior is said to be lavishly-appointed with buttoned gray cord upholstery with brocade borders and twisted cord nets on the headliner. it even has carpet flooring and pull down-shades on its side windows. up front at the cockpit, the buttoned gray cord upholstery continues through the dash, adorned with a single electrical instrument and a Phinney-Walker keyless clock. this one-of-the-kind example is expected to fetch between $100,000 to $150,000.

1920 Detroit Electric Brougham
1920 Detroit Electric Brougham 900x600px
(photos: RM Auctions) 1920 Detroit Electric Brougham | US$auction |

designated Model 82, this electric example from the 1920s is powered by a 4.3-hp, 84-volt DC motor with direct shaft drive. ride comfort is provided by solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, which are common to the cars of its time. a pair of mechanical brakes fitted to its rear wheels facilitate stopping of the vehicle. introduced at the a time where the fad of electric begins to fade, the Detroit has a dummy front hood with a fake radiator and has a silhouette that still reminiscent of the olden days’ horse carriages. a two tone paint work detailed the exterior, while the interior features a restored beige upholstery. this car is believed to be one of only about 95 Model 82s ever built and will put under the gavel with an expected price of between $80,000 to $100,000.

these vintage electric cars will be put through an auction process along with about 112 vintage and classic cars at the Hershey Auction, happening on the October 6 – 7, 2011, at the Hershey Lodge, West Chocolate Avenue & University Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania. also, do check out a huge gallery of these five vintage electric vehicles after the jump.

SOURCE: RM Auctions

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.

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  1. And we are still thinking about Electrical on how it is done and not using liquid/battery to run our transport.Do you think that there are some force stopping or buying away these brilliant ideas away?

    1. conspiracy theory? hehe. strange that human started electrical drive decades ago and only in recent did we get serious about it. if someone had pursue it relentlessly, we would probably do better than 100 miles range.

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