The Electric Car

1921 Automatic Electric Pleasure Vehicle, Model AE, Type IV, S/N 122

(Click on any of the below thumbnails to view a slideshow of larger images)

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History

The "Automatic" Electric Pleasure Vehicle, built by the Automatic Transportation Company in Buffalo, NY, was marketed in 1921 as the "practical electric automobile that would meet all requirements as a utility and pleasure car - and at a reasonable price."

Lewis Chipman, King's Council and senior partner in the law firm of Chipman and Sanderson, purchased it in Florida in the 1920s. The vehicle was shipped to Yarmouth in a wooden crate. Its top speed was 15 to 18 miles per hour, with a radius of 50 to 60 miles. Around the time of Chipman's death in 1939, the car was sold to a local garage, where the battery was removed and sold to a lighting plant. John R. (Jack) Baker saved the vehicle from the scrap heap by offering $25 for it. During the war years, the car was often featured in parades and Victory Loan Drives. After the war, it sat in a storage shed for 20 years.

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In 1964, Surrette Battery Ltd. of Springhill, NS, fitted a new battery into the original wooden battery box. New tubes and tires were ordered, but were never used. The car was reupholstered, repainted in its original colours and back on the road for the following year. The above photo shows Jack Baker in the car.

The Automatic Electric was displayed inside the Bank of Montreal building in 1967, and later took part in the Canadian Tire Centennial Tour of Classic and Antique Cars. The following year, Baker drove the car aboard the M.V. Bluenose ferry to attend the MOALS International Rally Parade at Bar Harbour, Maine.

The Automatic Electric originally had black headlights and no pin striping. Only two of these vehicles are known to exist today. This vehicle was a bequest to the museum from the estate of Mrs. John R. Baker.