Lot 372

Dare to Dream Collection

1915 Rauch & Lang J5 Double Control Coach


$89,600 USD | Sold

Canada | Toronto, Ontario



Motor No.
Chassis No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • A pioneer American EV, from one of the finest manufacturers
  • Innovative Dual Control model, able to be driven from front or rear seats
  • Charming overall condition, with restored drivetrain and reupholstered interior
Please note, this lot is located in Canada and import duty will be applicable to all countries outside of Canada, including the United States. RM Sotheby’s will be available to assist buyers with importation to the United States.

To the casual enthusiast it may come as a surprise that the electric automobile predates today’s Teslas and the like by a century, with numerous American manufacturers having offered battery-powered cars from the 1900s to the 1930s. One of the most respected was Rauch & Lang of Cleveland, Ohio, known for their especially solidly built and well-constructed models, which featured the upright, formal carriage-like styling typical of the period. They had a wonderful charm and operated in near-total silence, with only the squeak of the wheels to signify its movement.

The example in the Dare to Dream Collection is a J5 Double Control model, referring to its ability to be driven from either the rear seat or one of the two forward jump seats; there are actually two steering tillers and two sets of foot pedals! According to a written history by previous owner Mark Plante, it was ordered new by an Osage Nation woman and shipped to her home on a reservation near Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1920 it was traded by her daughter towards a Pierce-Arrow, and stored by the dealer until World War II, when it was sold to a minister from Sweetwater, Oklahoma, who used it for commuting to the prison at McAlester where he ministered.

Later the Rauch & Lang was sold to a woman who put it into a museum, then after the museum folded was purchased in 1963 by a Mr. Tucker of Kiowa, Kansas, who stored it in his airplane hangar for some 35 years. It was then purchased by Bernie Wray of Hutchinson, Kansas, from whose estate Mr. Plante acquired the car.

In 2013 the car was acquired for the Dare to Dream Collection at the suggestion of the owner’s friend, Jay Leno, whose esteemed collection requires no introduction—and had recommended it as a vintage electric car. Subsequently its interior and window glass were restored, and the electric drivetrain to the 80-volt Hertner electric motor restored by Storage Battery Systems of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with a conversion to modern batteries that permits easier charging and road use by the owner. Accompanying is a small collection of restoration invoices and numerous photographs, as well as a reproduction operating manual.

A charming pioneer of today’s EVs, this Rauch & Lang offers abundant period charm and is still a joy to take out on city streets—in silence!