1980 Vanguard Commutacar
Although electric vehicles are the flavor of the month so to speak, they have been in development for quite some time. Between 1832 and 1839, Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage. A small-scale electric car was designed by Professor Stratingh of Groningen, Holland, and built by his assistant Christopher Becker in 1835. Practical and more successful electric road vehicles were invented by both American Thomas Davenport and Scotsmen Robert Davidson around 1842. Both inventors were the first to use non-rechargeable electric cells. Frenchmen Gaston Plante invented a better storage battery in 1865 and his fellow countrymen Camille Faure improved the storage battery in 1881. This improved-capacity storage battery paved the way for electric vehicles to flourish.
After the demise of the electric vehicle in the 1930s, the 1970s saw a resurgence to overcome the fuel crisis. The Citicar, built by Sebring Vanguard of Florida produced around 2,500 vehicles before the company entered bankruptcy, and their successor, Commuter Vehicles Inc., also of Sebring, went on to produce the CommutaCar. It is believed that around 4,000 examples were produced before production ceased in the early 1980s.
The Commutacar featured a tubular chassis with ABS plastic body, and was powered by 8 six-volt lead-acid batteries producing 5bhp, which could propel the car to a top speed of 40mph and a range of between 30 and 40 miles.
The 1980 car offered here is a true barn-find. Believed to be owned originally by star of radio and television, Wink Martindale, but it was never used. Showing an original 35 miles from new, the car has remained in the consignor's garage, untouched for more than 20 years. Complete and original down to the batteries, this is a fine opportunity to own a rare piece of automotive history.
- This lot is sold on a bill of sale.