The Baker Motor Vehicle Company was one of the oldest and for many years the most successful electric vehicle manufacturer. Founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1899 by Walter C. Baker, the company expanded though offering a diverse range of body styles on several standardized chassis and drivetrains, all of them powered by Edison batteries. A Baker Electric formed part of the first White House automobile fleet. Thomas A. Edison was an early Baker Electric customer, at a time when electric power competed successfully with steam and internal combustion largely on the strength of its simplicity and clean-running, silent performance. Baker Electrics had 40-50 mile range, more than sufficient for the urban and suburban use which the deplorable state of roads outside built up areas made the dominant market for automobiles in the yearly decades of the 20th century. While many Bakers were bodied with large, imposing carriage-style coachwork -- landaulets, cabriolets, limousines, broughams and the like -- the telephone booth-shaped coupes are best remembered. This 1908 Baker Model V Victoria is quite different, a sparse but attractively equipped two seater with 48-volt motor and shaft drive to the rear axle. It is an older restoration done for and preserved by a well known, respected East Coast collection done to high standards of fit, function and finish. Conservatively liveried in black with black leather fenders and dashboard (the original carriage term), black tufted leather upholstery and a black leather cape-style top, it is body #5372, with Weston Model 240 meter #280. With 48-volt power it promises to be something extra in the way of performance. Carefully preserved, it shows some age and use but is fully serviceable and in great mechanical condition, a straightforward basis for cosmetic attention to bring it back to show condition or immediately usable for around town driving or tours on the vastly improved roads that didn't exist when it was new.
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