Hershey

6 - 7 October 2011

Lot 251

1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine

To be auctioned on Friday, October 7, 2011

Sold for $110,000

  • Chassis no. 513
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


Model C. 80-volt Westinghouse DC motor, five-speed controller, shaft drive, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 110"

- Believed to be the only survivor of a rare, early marque
- Unusual wheel-steered early electric
- Excellent older restoration
- Formerly in the Cousens and McMullen Collections

The Argo Electric Vehicle Company was formed in July 1910 in Saginaw, Michigan by Fred Buck, Theodore Hess and three colleagues. A latecomer to the electric car business, Argo was just in time for the golden age of the electric, which lasted from about 1910 to 1918. By this time, electric power had become available to the homes in many cities and towns, making home charging convenient and broadening the appeal of the electric.

Buck, Hess and their staff took over an old match manufacturing plant and began production that September. Prototype testing began in 1911 and advertising followed, so the official debut of the Argo did not occur until the January 1912 New York Auto Show. The initial model was a five-passenger brougham; a roadster, limousine (like this car) and several commercial models followed for 1913. Early that year the company advertised that 300 cars had been placed in “dignified and careful ownership,” but the excitement was short-lived. In 1916, the Argo company merged with fellow electric manufacturers Broc and Borland to form the American Electric Car Company, although each kept its marque identity. By 1916, however, it was all over, and Columbia Motors Company of Detroit bought the firm in order to secure its franchise in the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce, necessary to exhibit at the national shows.

Formerly in the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection and prior to that in the John McMullen Collection, this car is believed to be the sole surviving example of the marque. The lavishly-appointed interior has buttoned gray cord upholstery with handsome brocade borders and twisted cord nets on the headliner. There is matching carpet on the floor. The side windows have pull-down shades, and on the forward bulkhead, beside the single electrical instrument, is a Phinney-Walker keyless clock. Unusually for an electric of this era, it has wheel steering from the left front seat, an Argo hallmark.

The dark green paint is in good condition and exhibits a deep shine. The nickel brightwork, while minimal in extent, is in good condition. The car has 12-spoke wood artillery wheels, painted body color and fitted with solid rubber tires.

All but unknown among the members of the early electric automobile community, the Argo had a number of forward-looking features. This example is not only well restored and preserved, it is believed to be the only one of its kind.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more