Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
The Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1899 by Walter C. Baker. They built passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and land speed record cars (yep). All electric. And many of them looked like conventional gasoline-powered automobiles of their time (not something every electric car company could say, though Baker built similar-looking cars too).
This particular car, an ex-Harrah car, had its motor replaced in the 1980s and is now powered by an 18 horsepower unit, and a partial restoration was carried out in 2012. This car looks like a normal convertible from 1912, except that it is essentially square (as long as it is wide, riding on an 80″ wheelbase), which is kind of unusual.
Four different body styles were offered in 1912, with this being the least expensive. In 1914, Baker would merge with Rauch & Lang and the final Bakers rolled off the line in 1916, though commercial vehicles soldiered on for a few more years. Thomas Edison’s first car was a Baker Electric. So if you have a 16-year-old out there waiting for their first ride, go ahead and buy this for them. Maybe they’ll invent something.
This car should bring between $85,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
The Milburn Wagon Company had been around in Toledo since 1848. In 1914 they decided to start building electric cars. Over a thousand were built in 1915 but the factory suffered heavy losses in a fire in 1919. By 1921, 75% of the employees were building bodies for GM cars while only 25% were building electric cars. General Motors bought the plant outright in 1923 and this early electric car manufacturer was gone.
This car featured a 60 mile range when it went on sale, with a top speed of 19 mph. It was one of many such cars with stodgy, upright bodies, but they sold relatively well while electric cars were hot. They were lightweight and this one has been well restored and converted to run on 12-volt batteries.
Milburn built over 4,000 cars in their short lifespan. Survivors are sought after and don’t change hands often. This one should bring between $25,000-$35,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | March 16-17, 2018
Photo – Mecum
There is no more polarizing automaker right now than Tesla. While their current products and leadership seem to divide people into the groups of Skeptics, Fanboys, or complete indifference, I think we can all agree that the original Tesla, the Roadster, is still a pretty cool car.
The Roadster was produced between 2008 and 2012 and was based on the rolling chassis of a Lotus Elise (much like the Hennessey Venom GT). Instead of fitting it with a small four-cylinder engine, Telsa used their own electric motor which offered a maximum horsepower of 248. The Sport model, which was released in 2009, made 288 horsepower. The base model could hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and topped out at 125 mph.
Only about 2,450 of these were built – and so far there is only one of them floating around in space. This is a well-enjoyed model, showing 41,235 miles. It comes with two different tops and charging cables. If electric cars continue become more and more widespread and adopted, then this car will stand as sort of the first of the modern electric road cars as it more or less launched Tesla, the company leading the electric car charge.
When new, this car cost a little over $100,000 and it probably hasn’t depreciated all that much (if it hasn’t appreciated by this point) due to the draw Tesla cars have right now. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Las Vegas, Nevada | October 13-15, 2016
Photo – Barrett-Jackson
The Milburn Wagon Company of Toledo, Ohio, got into the car business in 1914 after decades of wagon building (they’d been around since 1848). Their cars closely resembled those built by other major American electric car manufacturers of the day, such as Detroit Electric and Rauch & Lang, among others.
What set the Milburn apart was that their batteries were on rollers – so you could have a spare set at home and just pull into the garage, roll the spent batteries out of your car, roll a fresh set back in, and be off again. In 1918, three bodies were offered and this one could do 30 mph and 100 miles on a charge. It cost $1,885 when new.
Milburn got into the game a little late – by the time they got up and running, the electric car was on the decline. The last Milburn Electrics were built in 1923. There’s no estimate on this car, but there’s no reserve either. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson in Vegas.
1919 Detroit Electric Model 75-A Four-Passenger Brougham
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Detroit Electric is one of the most famous names in electric automobiles. They built cars for a while, too, beginning in 1907 and lasting through the mid-to-late-30s. Later models are rarer than these post-WWI, upright, boxy cars. The company offered quite a large range of cars during this period – 1919 alone had six different model/body style combinations.
This car is powered by a 4.3 horsepower electric motor. It is mostly original but has been repainted. It’s an timeless design. This is the type of car you can use or restore and not feel bad about either choice. It should sell for between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.
1920 Rauch & Lang Electric Model C-45 Dual Drive Coach
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Rauch & Lang traces its history back to Jacob Rauch, a blacksmith in Cleveland who opened his shop in 1853. Charles Lang was a real estate man from nearby and moved the company toward wagon building. In 1905, they turned to electric cars and became one of America’s premier electric car builders in the early days of automobiles.
They built cars through 1928 and this 1920 Model C-45 is how most of them looked. The company moved from Cleveland to Massachusetts in 1920 (after having merged with Baker Electric in 1917) and this car was the final example produced in Cleveland. It uses a three horsepower electric motor. This car can be driven from the left hand seat either in the front or rear, which is pretty interesting. Try that in your Buick. Click here to see more about this car.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014
When the Germans took France, they quickly banned the sale of gasoline to those without special permission to drive. The innovative (including Peugeot) tried their hand at building very small electric cars as a way to build vehicles, stay in business, and keep France motoring.
This car was designed by architect Michel Dufet and produced by Pierre Faure. The engine was a small electric motor making 10 horsepower driving the two rear wheels. It was capable of 25 mph and could do 40 miles on a single charge. About 20 of these two-seaters were built, this being #16. It is in original condition and would be a perfect candidate for complete restoration having spent many years in a museum. It should sell for between $20,000-$34,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013
Sometimes, with electric cars, it can be difficult to extract horsepower and performance figures. This is even more difficult when the car is almost 110 years old. It is an electric car, built by A. Tribelhorn & Cie AG, in Feldbach, Switzerland. And I have no idea what kind of power it makes. Probably not a lot.
The company was founded by Johann Albert Tribelhorn in 1899. The company built electric cars exclusively up until they were acquired by a rival in 1919. For another year or so after that they built a few electric commercial vehicles. This is a passenger vehicle with wood bodywork and tiller steering.
It was offered by RM at Hershey in the fall of 2011 fresh from the estate of John O’Quinn. It sold there for $35,000. Now it is being offered for sale again, less than two years later. It makes you wonder why – did the new owner run out of money? Hate the car? Did it not work? In any case, this is a good chance to grab up a rare Swiss electric vehicle. And you know what was paid for it a year and a half ago, so they can’t exactly be asking for the moon this time around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.
Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013
Photo – RM Auctions
You might be thinking “Just what in the hell did Peugeot think they were doing trying to build a production car in 1942, under German occupation.” While the first part of that sentence – right up to the qualifier of “trying to build a production car…” is fair game at any point in their history, Peugeot actually had an interesting idea with this car. Gasoline was forbidden once Germany took over unless you had a special permission slip to drive. Literal cyclecars (without engines) were popular. Peugeot went with electricity. They were the only one of France’s large automakers to take a shot with building electric cars. The VLV was interesting – there was a single brake drum for the two rear wheels and the batteries up front made up half the weight of the car. It had a top speed of 22 mph and a range of 50 miles. It got around the fuel-restrictions but was banned by the occupying government after 377 were built. It’s cool, it’s rare. It should sell for $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more.
Talk about aerodynamics having come a long way. You can tell this electric delivery van was designed for utility and not comfort because of the solid state tires and big square, featureless body. The entry door is located in a very Isetta-like front-of-the-vehicle position (there’s one at the rear too). How cool.
The Walker Vehicle Company of Chicago, Illinois began producing electric trucks such as this in 1907. They were convenient because they were quiet, easy to operate, and didn’t smoke up the already crowded and polluted streets of cities like New York, where this van was in the service of Hearn’s Department Store.
The van has a 3/4-ton load capacity and with a full set of charged batteries, it can hit speeds up to 15 mph with a range nearing 40 miles from the 3.5 horsepower rear-mounted motor. I’m sure 15 mph in this thing is plenty fast. The interior is immaculate for a 100+ year-old commercial vehicle with varnished wood and a fresh seat. As rare as early commercial vehicles are, early electric commercial vehicles are even rarer. And, strangely, there is at least one other 1909 Walker electric out there.
This one will set you back a hefty $99,500. For more information, click here.