Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 182

1908 Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 5928

Sold for $66,000

Mark LXX. Direct-drive GE motor, solid front and rear axles with full-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 71.5"

• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn

• Formerly in the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection

• Delightful horseless carriage

Colonel Albert Pope had become the nation’s largest bicycle manufacturer, and he aimed to do the same with cars. In 1896, he completed an experimental electric car and the next year hired Hiram Percy Maxim to head the motor carriage department of the Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1899, they had built several hundred more electrics under the Columbia name, which he also used for his bicycles.

Meanwhile, the Electric Vehicle Company had been started by Isaac L. Rice in New York City, with the intention of building electric taxicabs. Rice had managed to put several dozen in service, which performed quite well during the City’s blizzard of 1899. Financier William Collins Whitney took notice and bought the company. Whitney needed a manufacturing base, so he went to see Colonel Pope. The result was the Columbia Automobile Company of Hartford, organized in 1899.

By 1902, there were nine models of Columbia electrics, carrying such names as “Mark XXXI Elberon Victoria” and “Mark XXX Seabright Runabout,” as well as a single Mark VIII gasoline runabout. In contrast, the Mark LXX electric, offered from 1908 to 1911, was called simply “Victoria Phaeton.”

Purchased from the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection in 2008, this Mark LXVIII Columbia Victoria is a rare survivor from the first generation of United States electric automobiles. Complete but well worn as acquired, Cousens subjected the car to a complete nut-and-bolt restoration. Handsome in Brewster Green with black leather upholstery and top, it is elegant yet understated, with lighting trimmed in nickel and all-white rubber tires.

Please note this vehicle is being sold on a Bill of Sale only.


Please note this vehicle is offered on a Bill of Sale only.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more