Automotive

1898 Riker Electric Car heads to auction in Monterey

1898 Riker Electric Car heads ...
The 1898 Riker Electric is one of the oldest surviving cars in the world, and still working perfectly in original, unrestored condition
The 1898 Riker Electric is one of the oldest surviving cars in the world, and still working perfectly in original, unrestored condition
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The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
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The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
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The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
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The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse
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The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse
The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse
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The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse
The original Riker Motor Vehicle badge is still in pristine condition
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The original Riker Motor Vehicle badge is still in pristine condition
EV instrumentation 120 years ago  – the 1898 Riker Electic
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EV instrumentation 120 years ago  – the 1898 Riker Electic
Astonishing condition for its age –  the 1898 Riker Electic. Steering was via the tiller bar
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Astonishing condition for its age –  the 1898 Riker Electic. Steering was via the tiller bar
The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
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The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time, and was used as personal transport by Andrew Riker's wife until 1930
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The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time, and was used as personal transport by Andrew Riker's wife until 1930
Mr &  Mrs. Andrew L. Riker and the 1898 Riker Electric (this car) in  Paris in 1898
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Mr &  Mrs. Andrew L. Riker and the 1898 Riker Electric (this car) in  Paris in 1898
The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time
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The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time
The 1898 Riker Electric is one of the oldest surviving cars in the world, and still working perfectly in original, unrestored condition
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The 1898 Riker Electric is one of the oldest surviving cars in the world, and still working perfectly in original, unrestored condition

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 original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric
The original, unrestored, perfect-working-order 1898 Riker Electric

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.

The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse
The 1.5-kW motor was driven through a gearbox that offered three forward speeds and two reverse

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.

The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time
The 1898 Riker Electric was one of the fastest cars in America during its time

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

4 comments
VincentWolf
Musk should buy it as that would be so fitting to be owned and displayed at Tesla.
Paul GOVAN
Extraordinary how our media refuses to talk about - and educate the public about - potentially disruptive, truth-exposing EVs from the 1990's - yet by contrast has no problem digging up ancient EVs from the 1890's or early 1900's. For instance - how's about educating yourselves and your audience about the existence of BMW's 1992 4-seater 155 mile/charge "E1" or the 4-seater Solectria Sunrise that achieved a range record of 373 miles in 1996 ? Or the 1987 BMW 325ix ...I could go on. Even the original Toyota RAV4 EV(1997-2003) will be unknown to most of those who now know about the existence of the 1898 Riker and other ancient EVs. And the 1998-2004 TZero - how many have ever heard of it - let alone know that there would be no Tesla Motors were it not for the li-ion version of the TZero ? So when will our media finally start informing themselves and the public about "inconvenient" EV Truth & Facts from the relatively recent history ? See links: 1) Autocar re BMW's 155 mile/charge E1 https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/anything-goes-throwback-thursday/throwback-thursday-1992-bmw-e1-first-drive 2) Business Insider re: "The Surprising History of electric BMW's": https://amp.businessinsider.com/history-of-bmws-electric-cars-2016-5 3) Solecrtria Sunrise, 4-seater, 373 miles, 1996: https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Solectria_Sunrise Paul G(EVUK)
PAV
Is it the original battery?
CAVUMark
This should sell for an shockingly high price.