1898 Riker Electric Car heads to auction in Monterey
A pioneer electric car of great historical significance will be going to auction during Monterey Car Week next month. Built by electric car pioneer Andrew L. Riker, the car won three of America's first car races, and was exhibited alongside the famous Lohner Porsche at the 1900 Exposition Universalle Internationale in Paris, winning the Gold Medal.
Winning a Gold Medal at such a prestigious exhibition was a massive triumph for the company – the highest award for excellence available for a product at the time. For example, Campbell's Soup won a Gold Medal at the same Expo and still exhibits that Gold Medal on the label of its soup cans.
The car's provenance is also remarkable, having been built by Andrew L Riker, one of the giants of the American Automotive Industry. Riker was a co-founder and inaugural President of the Society of Automotive Engineers, with Henry Ford as his Vice-President. After selling his electric car company to transport magnate Albert Pope, he moved to Locomobile, where he designed the company's first production gas-powered car.
This car was then used by Andrew Riker's wife, Edith Riker, until 1930, when it was gifted to the Henry Ford Museum. It remained in the Ford Museum until the collection was auctioned in 1985, being purchased by the Riker family, and the current owners were entrusted to maintain the car for the family. The current owners purchased the car from the Riker family, along with its original personalized leather licence plate "A.L.R."
By far the most astonishing aspect of this living historical artifact is that it is in entirely original, unrestored condition some 121 years after it was built, something unprecedented in the automotive world.
Just what price the 121-year-old 40-mph (64-km/h) EV might fetch is open to conjecture, and Worldwide Auctioners is not about to put any numbers around it for fear of limiting the potential. Just as with the original Porsche Type 64, which will also go to auction in Monterey this year, it is expected to fetch a lot of money, but whether or not it will be recognized in monetary value for its landmark status will be interesting to watch.
It is a landmark vehicle in the history of personal transportation, perhaps more so than the Porsche because 50 years from now, there won't be many cars running internal combustion engines, so this car will be become even more valuable as it will be relevant to the vehicles still on the road at that time – an automotive Antikythera Mechanism that is still in its original, unrestored and working state.
It has a stellar 121-year, race-winning history and was recently returned to running order, so it will get the next owner a VIP entry into any concours in the world, and star billing at any relevant event in the world.
It will sell at the Pacific Grove Auction on August 15, 2019 during Monterey Car Week and there's much more on the history of the car in the auction description.
Source: Worldwide Auctioneers