Amelia Island

9 March 2013

Lot 192

1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sold for $77,000

  • Chassis no. 1560
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.

2 hp, 40 volt DC electric motor, solid axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 79 in.

  • Unusual electric car built in Switzerland
  • Formerly in the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection
  • Wooden body with vis-à-vis seating arrangement

Despite having played home to such outstanding manufacturers as Monteverdi and Hispano-Suiza, as well as to coachbuilders Graber and Worblaufen, Switzerland has never achieved a place of great prominence in the automobile industry. As the 20th century turned, however, A. Tribelhorn & Company AG, of Feldbach, made an effort, launching an electric passenger car as companion to their commercial electric vehicles in 1902.

Tribelhorn’s production soon expanded beyond the original open front-wheel drive, two-seat “light doctor’s car” to heavier double-phaetons, landaulets, and limousines bodied by Geissberger of Zurich. The cars were quite expensive, but they managed a small and loyal following, similar to the electric cars that were finding favor in the United States at about the same time. Also similarly to the American electrics, the Tribelhorn’s popularity soon faded, and the company was sold in 1918.

The Tribelhorn electric car offered here, in all likelihood the only one in the United States, was formerly in the noted Cedar Crossing Collection of James Cousens, widely recognized as one of the finest collections of electric vehicles ever assembled. It features a wooden “vis-à-vis” body, with the driver and passengers seated face-to-face, with wooden fenders and brass trim, and it has benefited from an older restoration in red with yellow accents. The driver maneuvers with a long tiller handle while monitoring an ammeter and voltage gauge—the only dashboard instruments one needs.

The appeal of this little Swiss car is truly electric.

Please note, this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale only.


Please note, this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale only.

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

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

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

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