Amelia Island

9 March 2013


Lot 192

1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham

  • Chassis no. 1560

Sold for $77,000

2 hp, 40 volt DC electric motor, solid axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 79 in.

  • Unusual electric car built in Switzerland
  • Formerly in the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection
  • Wooden body with vis-à-vis seating arrangement

Despite having played home to such outstanding manufacturers as Monteverdi and Hispano-Suiza, as well as to coachbuilders Graber and Worblaufen, Switzerland has never achieved a place of great prominence in the automobile industry. As the 20th century turned, however, A. Tribelhorn & Company AG, of Feldbach, made an effort, launching an electric passenger car as companion to their commercial electric vehicles in 1902.

Tribelhorn’s production soon expanded beyond the original open front-wheel drive, two-seat “light doctor’s car” to heavier double-phaetons, landaulets, and limousines bodied by Geissberger of Zurich. The cars were quite expensive, but they managed a small and loyal following, similar to the electric cars that were finding favor in the United States at about the same time. Also similarly to the American electrics, the Tribelhorn’s popularity soon faded, and the company was sold in 1918.

The Tribelhorn electric car offered here, in all likelihood the only one in the United States, was formerly in the noted Cedar Crossing Collection of James Cousens, widely recognized as one of the finest collections of electric vehicles ever assembled. It features a wooden “vis-à-vis” body, with the driver and passengers seated face-to-face, with wooden fenders and brass trim, and it has benefited from an older restoration in red with yellow accents. The driver maneuvers with a long tiller handle while monitoring an ammeter and voltage gauge—the only dashboard instruments one needs.

The appeal of this little Swiss car is truly electric.

Please note, this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale only.


Please note, this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale only.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Jonathan Sierakowski

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Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

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Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more