St. John's

28 July 2012

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Lot 148

1922 Milburn Electric Light Brougham

  • Chassis no. 2-3175-7

Sold for $56,100

Model 27L. 76-volt General Electric DC electric motor, controller with four forward speeds and two reverse speeds, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 105"

• Handsome, late Milburn Electric

• Superb restoration

• Magnificent petit-point embroidered interior

• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn

At the dawn of the automobile age, steam, internal combustion, and electricity vied for popularity. Internal combustion won out over steam when gasoline engines became reliable and convenient to operate. Electric cars suffered from limited range and lack of infrastructure, for homes without electricity lacked the means to recharge batteries.

Thus the golden age of the electric car did not begin until 1910, when electric mains had reached a significant portion of the US population. The Milburn Wagon Company, of Toledo, Ohio, entered the business in 1914. An advantage of the Milburn was a battery pack on rollers, allowing fresh batteries to be quickly installed, eliminating the downtime for charging. Most Milburns were of the high-roof “phone booth” style, but a roadster, a delivery van, and a town car were also available. Sales were brisk at first, 1,000 cars in 1915 and 1,500 the next year. From 1919, the Light Brougham, a basic coupe, became the standard model. In 1923, when the vogue of the electric car had faded, production ceased, and the factory was sold to General Motors.

This 1922 Milburn Light Brougham was owned for many years by Col. David E. Wolff, of Closter, New Jersey. The Colonel was very fond of it, and it was reportedly a national award winner. When purchased by collector James Cousens, it was aged considerably; Cousens undertook a frame-up restoration in 2006 with Bill Hallett, of Clarkston, Michigan. The O’Quinn Collection purchased the car thereafter.

Finished in an elegantly understated silver-grey with black fenders, this Milburn exhibits a gracefulness uncommon in electric coupes of the period. The interior is nothing short of spectacular, with intricate petit-point embroidery in a very high-fashion motif. A superb example of the handsome Milburn Electric, this car will be an asset to any collection.

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

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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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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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more