The Columbus Buggy Company in Columbus, Ohio had been a leader in building horse drawn vehicles since the Civil War and in 1903 announced its entry into the automobile business with an electric runabout. A line of crude, rope drive gasoline-powered high wheelers was introduced in 1907 was stark contrast to the elegant, silent, simple electrics and Columbus soon returned its focus to building electrics, continuing in production until 1915 as even its stylish, efficient electrics succumbed to the enhanced utility, range and reliability of the rapidly evolving gasoline-powered automobile. This 1906 Columbus Electric Stanhope runabout has a significant provenance having been in the collection of famed tenor and early antique automobile collector James Melton in the 1940s. Melton's celebrity made his collection -- at one time totaling 125 automobiles -- and the Autorama museum he established in Hypoluxo, Florida an important factor in popularizing the preservation, display and history of early automobiles. Melton gave a good home to many important automobiles, not a few of them given to him by owners who wanted to see them cared for and shared with others. He was a pioneer in car collecting along with William Harrah and Henry Austin Clark, Jr. The Columbus Electric later passed to George de la Plaine in New Jersey and then to Lloyd Gano in California in 1964 who used it extensively, even writing about it in the Horseless Carriage Gazette in 1978, while also thoroughly researching its history. It was acquired by James Couzens for his famed Cedar Crossing Collection of electric cars in 2006. Its Columbus Electric chassis number is 60, the Weston meter is #9057 and the 1 1/2 hp Elwell-Parker motor number is 1663. It is freshly restored in dark green coachlined in gold with black leather mudguards, black cloth button tufted upholstery and black leather top. The dark green wood spoke wheels are attractively highlighted by gold coachlines and carry a set of new white rubber tires. The six batteries are also new. Steering is by tiller from the left seat and there are mechanical brakes on the rear wheels. Meticulously restored and ready to be used proudly, this is an important and rare 1906 Columbus that once was part of one of America's earliest antique automobile collections, tenor James Melton's Autorama.
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