Hershey | Lot 451
1909 Rauch & Lang Electric Coupe
$99,000 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
11 October 2019
- Rare early electric automobile
- Complete ground-up restoration
- Operating on a complete set of 12-volt batteries
Rauch & Lang of Cleveland, Ohio, was a prestigious name in the electric car field and, before that, in the carriage trade. The company dated from 1884, when wagon builder Jacob Rauch and real estate magnate Charles E. J. Lang formed a partnership to manufacture high-end carriages. By the beginning of the 20th century, Rauch & Lang carriages were among the most esteemed and expensive available in their region. In 1903, the company opened a Buffalo Electric dealership and in 1905 began to build and sell electric vehicles under the Rauch & Lang name until 1920.
In 1909 the Rauch & Lang Electric was advertised as the handsomest coupe on the market, touting it to be “as cozy and luxurious as any woman would have it, and as able and efficient as any man would demand it to be.” Prospective customers were encouraged to be one of those lucky enough to purchase one of the 1,200 cars made that year in answer to pent-up demand. Upholstery was imported leather or broadcloth in colors to match the exterior. The body was finished expertly, and “the harmony of line and perfection of finish” were meant to appeal to the discerning buyer.
Its mechanical and safety advantages were touted, as well: rugged Exide (short for Excellent Oxide) batteries “of enormous capacity”; strong, durable electric brakes; and a Corbin key to lock the control handle, meaning “no one [could] steal the car by using a nail or wire.” “Other cars may be cheaper at first,” the company admitted, “but Rauch & Lang owners spend practically nothing at all for repairs.”
This rare and elegant opera coupe was the subject of a comprehensive restoration and is now powered by a complete set of 12-volt batteries, making it safer and more reliable than when it was new—an ideal choice for any collection of early electric cars.