Drive Electric…from 110 Years Ago

Classic electric car duo of 1906 and 1907, primed for auction in the UK on June 11, emphasizes there’s nothing new in this world.

In 2009, British MP, Boris Johnson commented: “Electric vehicles are a clear example of how technology can provide the solution to the biggest challenge of our generation.”  But what the then Mayor of London failed to mention was that the electric car epiphany is not exactly new, as UK classic car auction specialist, Historics at Brooklands, emphasizes with the sale of two astonishingly-competent, electrically-propelled cars dating back to manufacture in 1906.

The USA-built centenarian duo—an elegantly-named 1906 Pope Waverley Victoria Phaeton and 1907 Victor High Wheel Electric Runabout – come to sale at Historics major summer auction at Brooklands Museum, Surrey, UK on Saturday, June 11.

The fact that Brooklands—the birthplace of UK motorsport and aviation – was opened in 1907 only adds to the resonance of these electric time-warp masterpieces as they come under the hammer.

Immensely rare and sought-after today, they were no flashes in the pan at the time they were built. Indeed, emphasizing the clamor for electric cars as personal mobility became the mantra, there were over 100 manufacturers of cars powered by a battery in the early 20th century. It was only advances in the internal combustion engine and the mass production of cheaper petrol vehicles that sounded the death knoll of the electric car movement.


The 1906 Pope Waverley Victoria Phaeton, offered by Historics at an estimate of £30,000-£40,000, sold at the time of its build in Nebraska for some $1,600, and is notable for its supreme presentation.  Fully-restored and elegant in the extreme, the convertible features a leather-lined hood, with the additional sumptuous comfort of complementary leg covers.

Seating two on the floral print, button-back fabric ‘bench’ seat plus a rear-facing occasional seat, the car is steered by tiller and rudimentary but extremely effective controls to go and stop. With electric coach lamps, it is fully capable of nighttime expeditions but it is in its element with the roof down on a summer’s day.

Brought to the UK by the vendor some years ago, the Pope –Waverley is now equipped with modern technology batteries and charging system giving it a very useable range.


The very compact 1907 Victor High Wheel Runabout, built one year later in Indianapolis, spent many years on display in an American Museum before being imported to the UK, when it was the subject of a complete sympathetic overhaul. This included the fitment of contemporary batteries and charging system, and a recent repaint of both the chassis and bodywork, together with black leather upholstery and far from rudimentary patent leather mudguards to protect its inhabitants. As is the case of the Pope Waverley, vision is superb from the high driving position.

In common with today’s ‘new age’ electric vehicles the Victor is practically silent when running – all the more so thanks to minimal solid tyre contact.  Perhaps today’s EV manufacturers could take a cue from the Victor, which is equipped with a large bell on the driver’s side so pedestrians are aware of its stately approach.

In common with the 1906 Pope Waverley, much interest in this equally rare and sought-after Victor is anticipated at its estimate of £30,000-£40,000.

These magnificent examples of electric cars from more than a century ago are two of the highlights of 130 fine classic motor cars, across a wide range of values and marques, spanning ten decades, on sale on Saturday, June 11th at Historics at Brooklands, Surrey, UK, where all consignments can be viewed on the Thursday and Friday prior. Online bidding by Proxibid, the world’s most trusted way to connect buyers and sellers of highly valued items like the vehicles available in this auction, ensures collectors from across the globe can participate even if they cannot make it to the live auction. View the catalog and place bids online by visiting Proxibid.

Full consignments and information are available to view at, or contact Historics at Brooklands on 00 44 1753 639170, or email


About Historics at Brooklands

The independent auction house, Historics at Brooklands was established in March 2010, by private investors, to provide a highly knowledgeable and professional resource for the sale of fine quality classic and collector cars and motorcycles

Historics aims to be representative of the breadth of the classic community, hosting major sales at the evocative Brooklands location, with a balanced consignment of interesting, fine classic vehicles of many eras and values.  All staff are highly experienced within the classic vehicle sector, and are themselves classic owners and enthusiasts.

With its permanent home at Brooklands Museum, but independent in ownership, Historics has hosted 24 major auctions to date, including a rare ‘white glove’ sale of a 56-strong collection of American classics from the film ‘Captain America – The First Avenger’.

Historics has also been credited on three consecutive occasions for its integrity and professionalism with an annual ‘Highly Approved Trader (HAT) Award’ by the highly authoritative motoring and auction commentator, Honest John.

For full results of Historics auctions, visit


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