Restorer32

1918 Rauch and Lang

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Restoring this 1918 Rauch and Lang electric car. Found it interesting that it was apparently still on the road in 1938.

Rauch and Lang 3.jpg

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That is quite a testament to its design.  I' would guess the batteries were the biggest maintenance item.

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Then and now. Just spent $2300 on 7 new 12 volt deep cycle batteries plus another $500 for an 84 volt DC charger. You have to be careful. 84 volts DC could be deadly if you suddenly found yourself in the circuit.

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Was the charger a special order / design?  I'm not sure what else uses 84v DC.

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As you have found out the big expense of running an electric is replacing the batteries every 10 years or so. Probably around 1928 they took it in for new batteries, cleaning and oiling of the motor and controls, and possibly a set of new tires and it was ready to go for another 10 years. I am a bit surprised if they did not use it after 1938. Some old electrics were revived during WW2 because they got around the problem of gas rationing.

 

You should be able to drive it all you want. The batteries will last longer if used regularly.

 

If I had an electric like that I would approach the manufacturers of the latest electric car batteries and suggest putting their batteries in your 1918 car as a publicity stunt. "This car was the latest thing 100 years ago - it is still going strong, proving the long life and practicality of the electric car - but with our batteries it can cover twice the miles between charges and performs 20% better"

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The owner has a Summer home along the coast of Normandy in France in a small town where electrics were the rule up until WWI. He intends to use the car as it was intended.

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I wouldn't think that the car still being legal in 1938 is that hard to believe.  That's only 20 years.  My 1987 Lincoln Towncar is the newest car I own and is my daily driver.  That's 31 years and still counting!

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1 hour ago, superior1980 said:

I wouldn't think that the car still being legal in 1938 is that hard to believe.  That's only 20 years.  My 1987 Lincoln Towncar is the newest car I own and is my daily driver.  That's 31 years and still counting!

There was a time when 20 yrs made a big difference. In 1970 I bought a 1951 Pontiac as my daily driver.  Compared to a 1970 auto it was really old technology, vacuum wipers, 6V electrics, no power brakes or steering, no oil filter, flat head inline 8, tube radio and the list goes on.  As you said, a 1987 and a 2017 are not as different.  It's hard to imagine a 1993 auto as an antique when you compare them to a current auto.  Certainly the differences are nothing like 1918 to 1938.

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I have a 1950 model and a 1956 model.  The difference in the technology between the two is pretty amazing.  I believe that the 1950 to1959 decade was one that produced the greatest improvement in cars.  Both of these cars are daily drivers even though dealing with the lack of power steering and air conditioning, the vacuum wipers and the bias-ply tires on the 50 can be difficult.

Larry

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I'm not surprised the car was still in use in 1938. I knew a guy whose father drove a Model T as regular transportation in the mid fifties. I would be surprised if the original batteries still worked, and would also be a bit surprised someone spent the money on new batteries.

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I found a barn fresh 1913 Waverly electric coupe  few years back.  It too was 84 volts. I decided to add 1 more 12 volt battery and made it 96 volts. 96 volt chargers are relatively in expensive. I purchased a 96 volt solid state charger small enough to fit under the seat. The charger was about $250.00. 

 

Adding 1 more battery did not cause any undo harm to the electrical system. I replaced all the battery cables with high quality welding cable and used heavy battery clamps and soldered all connections as well a using heat shrink tubing on ll connections. The reason to use fine strand welding cable is to reduce resistance.

 

This was an original unrestored car that had the original controller which was a copper finger controller which by today's standards is very inefficient. If you are going to use the original  controller make sure you clean the contact surfaces of all contamination and sand them smooth as a baby's butt. They tend to get pimples on them during driving. 

 

I sold mine a few years back and was like a boat owner, the happiest days of my life was the day I got it and the day I sold it. The driving issue was no power to go up even a slight grade. With no way to gear down the Waverly could only go 5 milers per hour even on the slightest grade. On the flat 20 to 25 mph. You learn to drive with the amp gauge, the higher the amp gauge registers the more current is used, which cuts down on your distance.

 

Just sayin'

 

brasscarguy

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Well this R and L is getting a full frame up restoration. Not the first electric car we have worked on. Trying to find a source for new curved glass for the side windows. We bought the batteries so we could better determine the condition of the electricals  before we started the restoration.  We will also be cosmetically restoring a period correct mercury vapor rectifier and charger,  just for display. On our test drive we had no problem accelerating up a relatively steep grade.

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The main advantage of DC motors is torque so it's surprising to hear about the issues with uphill driving.  Might have been a problem with the final gearing the manufacturer chose given the weight of the car with its battery pack.

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There is a 1914 Rauch and Lang electric car parked inside the Dupont Registry building in Clearwater Florida.

The owner often comes out for the monthly Cars & Coffee there and parks it outside with the high end sports cars. 

A nice car that proves the Tesla is not such a new idea.  Somewhere, I have a picture of it parked next to my car,

that was 20 years newer.

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The R & L is a bigger fancier car than the Detroit or the Milburn we previously worked on.  This car is in exceptionally good shape, having been owned by Case Western Reserve for many years. At 7'6" tall it is a bit disconcerting to drive because of t h e  way the full elliptical springs allow it to sway. One of our employees swore he was developing motion sickness while riding in the car. Definitely not an off road vehicle.

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I gotta a little bit of motion sickness just imaging it at 7'6" tall on and on full elliptical springs...

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Stripping paint from the aluminum body.  Surprisingly,  some of the body trim, including the A pillars is actually wood. 

20180329_132916_resized (2).jpg

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Darn that thing is tall!  Sure would be easy to find in the parking lot.

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