September 8, 2022

Vintage-Nitro

Still car-crazy after all these years

Pope Waverly Stanhope Electric Car

Pope Waverly Stanhope: Two Seat Electric Vehicle from 1904

Remembering Pope Waverly Stanhope Electric Car

Car folk can discover thought-provoking vehicles almost anywhere. In this case, a kitchy table covering at a local restaurant caught my eye. Scattered among the antique advertisements printed on the table was an old ad for the Pope Waverly Stanhope electric vehicle.

Placed by a dealer from ProviRhode Island, the ad touted the Indiana-built Pope-Waverly.

Although the ad is undated, the Pope Waverly connection indicates it appeared between 1904 and 1908. Before 1904, the manufacturer sold cars under the Waverly badge. At that time, the company rebranded itself as Pope-Waverly, but the new marque did not last long. Because of financial difficulties the firm was sold in 1909. As a result, the company eliminated the Pope nameplate, and the automaker once again operated under the Waverly brand until 1914.

When Electric motors outnumbered Gas and Diesel engines

Auto companies experimented with many technologies in the early twentieth century. The Stanhope was one of many electric models from various manufacturers during that period.

Even though modern electric vehicles are superior in most respects, the Stanhope was remarkably advanced for its era. Lead-acid batteries allowed the Stanhope to attain a top speed of 15mph. While laughable in today’s market, 15mph was respectable at the time.

The car was aimed at doctors and housewives and offered a range of 40 miles on a charge. I couldn’t locate documentation about the Stanhope’s battery count, but other Pope Waverly models carried 30-40 batteries. Considering the car relied on lead-acid cells, that represents a significant chunk of weight.

Instead of a steering wheel, drivers of the Stanhope controlled the two seater with a tiller. Revealing the car’s buggy heritage, large wooden wheels were used all-around, suspended by elliptical springs front and rear.

The company promoted its electric vehicles with the tagline “free from dirt, odor, noise or vibration.”

The Pope Waverly Stanhope: Immune to Accidents?

Fair enough, but I find one line in the ad puzzling. The text reads, “Do you realize that it [the Waverly Electric] is virtually immune from disabling accidents?”

What does that mean? I would think an Electric Stanhope would be just as vulnerable to damage as any other car in that era. Conceivably more so than most, since it used wooden frame rails. I wish the ad would explain why the Stanhope was immune to disablement. Alas, the ad offers no explanation to the car’s resistance to harm. But the flyer says so in print, so it must be legitimate. Right?

Built a century ago, it is no surprise the majority of the Pope Waverly Electric Cars went to the scrapyard decades ago. Some still survive, however. In 1919, a restored Pope Waverly Stanhope sold at auction for $100800.00 US. That is quite a return on investment for a car originally priced at $1500.00!

Pope Waverly Electric Truck from 1907

Pope-Waverly offered a full range of electric vehicles, including the two-seat Stanhope, Phaetons, Surreys, Station Wagons, Fire Engine and more. This five-ton electric truck relied on 40 lead acid batteries. Later Thomas Edison designed an advanced battery that provided more power and a longer range.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons:
commons.wikimedia.org

 

More about Waverly Electric Vehicles:

Second Chance Garage

Concept Carz

Bonhams Auctions

 

 

Tom Bonner