Unique of the Week: 1919 Rauch and Lang Electric

Classic Cars

Think a Nissan Leaf is special? We didn't think so, but this rare 1919 EV certainly is.

Electric cars have been around for over 100 years. Seriously. The problem then, as it still is today, can be summed up in one word: range. Automakers still struggled with the same battery issues as they do today and the ultimate decision to develop the internal combustion engine was not only practical, it was the only realistic solution to the then new automobile. Back in the day, Rauch and Lang was an early American automaker in Cleveland, Ohio that focused only on electric cars.

Originally starting off as a coachworks company in 1853 building fine carriages, they later moved into the developing world of the automobile. Beginning production in 1905, they were building 500 units per year by 1908. They merged with another company called Baker Electric in 1916 and beginning in 1919, the cars became known as Raulangs. Based in Cleveland until 1920, they then moved to a new facility in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts where they remained until they shut their doors for good in 1932. Before closing, for a time they also built taxi cabs in both electric and gasoline versions.

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And now, an ultra-rare 1919 B-36 Brougham is up for auction on eBay Motors. With only 276 miles on the odometer (seriously), it's described as a fine example of the quality and luxury appointments of Rauch and Lang's coachwork. Painted blue with black fenders and grey broadcloth upholstery, there are also plenty of other early 20th century bits throughout. The wood spoke wheels have wide whitewall tires and the livery is set off by the brass lighting. The interior features tiller steering, a brass clock, bud vases and pull-down shades on all of the windows - even on the opening front windshield.

All mechanical controls have built-in safeguards which supposedly alleviate concern over possible unintended acceleration. Interestingly, this feature isn't even on some modern EVs and hybrids. It's also been restored and has new batteries that have been thoroughly serviced. At the moment, it has a ‘But it Now' price of $57,500, which we think is quite reasonable considering the rarity and its overall solid condition. Much appreciation to 'gaborm' for the tip. What a great find, we really enjoyed it. Photos courtesy of hlcc

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