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Selling on Saturday Evening

1918 Rauch & Lang Electric B26 Brougham

  • An early pioneer in green energy and the electric car market
  • Meticulously and accurately restored to a very high standard
  • A rare and seldom-seen example
  • Fully functional and ready for outings

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Rauch & Lang, a company based in Cleveland, Ohio, had its roots in the carriage trade, established in 1884 by Jacob Rauch and Charles Lang. Specializing in high-quality horse-drawn carriages, their products were known for their prestige and higher cost. In 1903, the company took its first step into the realm of “horseless carriages” by acquiring a Buffalo Electric motor and controller supplier, Hertner Electric. By 1908, Rauch & Lang was producing 500 cars a year in a range of open and closed body configurations. These electric cars found popularity among the rich and wealthy due to their ease of driving, quiet operation, and capacity for carrying heavy coachwork with multiple passengers, thanks to high-torque motors. With the rise of the self-starter gasoline cars, Rauch & Lang's sales began to decline, so in 1915 the company merged with Cleveland, Ohio competitor Baker Electric and continued to offer several passenger models under the Rauch & Lang brand. However, in 1920, their electric car business was acquired by the Stevens-Duryea Company, and the production of Rauch & Lang’s electric cars was moved to a new factory, where they started manufacturing taxis with both petrol and electric powertrains. While petrol-powered cabs proved more successful, the demand for electric vehicles waned. By 1929, Rauch & Lang made one final push, experimenting with a petrol/electric hybrid vehicle in collaboration with General Electric, but the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 would deal a fatal blow to Rauch & Lang, resulting in their downfall.

An early pioneer in green energy and the electric car market, this 1918 Rauch & Lang B26 Brougham is a rare and seldom seen surviving example that has been faithfully and meticulously restored to a very high standard. The original body with its nickel plating is finished in a two-tone color scheme of Crimson Red with black fenders and elegant pinstriping throughout. The appearance resembles fine jewelry that has just recently been finished and presented. Riding on wood spoke wheels that have been crowned with a lavish paint scheme and wrapped in new wide whitewall tires, the appearance is truly captivating and leaves onlookers wondering how this automobile was constructed and engineered in 1918, especially since it emulates such a quiet sound strolling down the road.

The boxed cabin has been finely restored like the rest of the car and features a rear bench seat that places the driver on the left side, as well as a single swiveling parlor seat and fixed cushion seat placed rearward. Gray cord fabric upholstery covers the entire cabin and is drawn together with subtle wood veneer on the window sills. Features include roll-up windows with blinds, “floating” flower vases in the front corners, rear corner lights, a dome light, and a rearview mirror spanning the width of the windshield. Slotted between the front seats is a cluster of gauges, which entail a gauge that monitors amperage hours, a Weston Ammeter, a Weston voltmeter, and a Warner Auto-Meter drum-style speedometer. The driver is placed on the left side of the bench seat as the tiller steering control and hand throttle are equipped on that side.

The most interesting part of this pioneering automobile is the motor and mechanisms, as it has a Hertner DC electric motor that provides five forward speeds to the rear wheels via a shaft drive and worm-drive axle. Suspension incorporates solid front and rear axles with elliptic leaf springs at the rear and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front. This example was recently fitted with new batteries and runs on 48 volts and stands ready to take for a spin.

Way ahead of its time, as well as the EV craze that can be seen today, this 1918 Rauch & Lang B26 Brougham is a true testament to innovation during the progressive era and one that set the standard for almost all EV automobiles to follow.


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