Dynamic Duo: 1974 CitiCar X 2

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Maybe this isn’t a Dynamic Duo as in Batman and Robin, but as far as being somewhat campy and cartoon-like, maybe it’s not that far off? A seller in Cortland, Ohio has not one but two CitiCar EVs for sale. The unmet opening bid for the light blue one is $3,500 and the yellow one’s starting bid is $2,600. They can be found on eBay: here for the blue one and here for the yellow one. Or, what the heck, just get them both! Both of these cars would still be 3-feet shorter than my ’66 Lincoln is.

If anyone had any doubt what so ever, I’ve always liked these cars. They’re highly unusual, they’re small and easy to store, they’re inexpensive to operate for short trips, they’re highly unusual, and they’re also highly unusual. I forgot to mention one last thing: they’re highly unusual. Pull into any Target, Walmart, or any other chain store parking lot, go in and do your shopping, and come out and see if there isn’t someone standing next to it taking a photo. Or, parked next to it with their Suburban / H2 / other-humongous-SUV for a comparison photo. Or, even a new Tesla Model X. And, as long as I touched on that, no, you do not want to get into an accident with one of these, even though they were DOT-approved with an aircraft-grade aluminum space frame. But, yeah, at 8-feet in length, they’re small and.. just don’t get into an accident with it.

Being 1974 models, these are both in the initial run of CitiCars and are pre-VIN 1501 cars, which means that they both should be 36V models. The 12-volt batteries are mounted below the seat and they should have a 36V on-board charger. The seller talks about the yellow car at one time being 72V and having a 50 mph top speed, but they burned the brushes in the motor and have since converted it back to 36V. They talk about the blue car having an on-board 48V charger so it must have been converted at some point. The history of these cars, and this car company, Sebring-Vanguard, Inc., is somewhat cloudy. Both cars are said to be in good condition but both also have small cracks in the ABS body panels.

By 1976, Sebring-Vanguard, Inc., in Sebring, Florida, was the #6 auto manufacturer in the US! No, really! And, until Tesla took over in 2013, the company made the most street-legal EVs in the US. There weren’t many of them made, just a few thousand, but at the time with the energy crisis, companies were scrambling to provide useful in-town transportation to consumers who didn’t care to wait in long lines to fill their gas tanks. Depending on a person’s driving style, the weather, and the terrain, these cars could provide more than enough driving range for most commuters, usually from 20 to 40 miles. Today, when people sometimes live 20-30 miles or more from their jobs, they wouldn’t work too well, obviously. The owner had both cars in perfect operating condition before their poor health got in the way a few years ago. There are a lot of spare parts that come with each car which is always nice.

There are no photos of the actual motor of either car, underside photos, or photos behind the seats, etc., but they do both look like they’re both in fine condition with maybe just a little surface rust on some of the interior finishes, which most likely means that there is surface rust on the underside finishes. It goes without saying that cars like these aren’t in the viewfinder of the average Barn Finds reader, but then again, someone sent in this tip so there is at least one other person out there, besides me, who loves these little oddballs!

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    And that someone would be me… 🙂 I like wedges! TR7/8s, Lotus Esprits, TVRs–and this doorstop!

    4+
  2. Lemble

    15 years ago my brothers paper was delivered with one of these. Silent delivery car.

    3+
  3. Marvin Granger

    All you would need is a slot track to run them on !

    1+
  4. Joe Nose

    Have those same wheels on my little boat trailer.

    0
  5. Stu

    If you suffer with incontinence, you could die from electrocution.

    3+
  6. JunkFixer

    There’s a guy that works for our water dept that daily drives one of these.

    2+
  7. Jeffro

    You say Batman and Robin. I was thinking more like Sponge Bob and Patrick.

    4+
  8. MikeH

    I love oddball cars. The engineering is usually so much more interesting than your usual Ford or Chev product. Keep them coming.

    1+
  9. Dave Pyatt

    We own four of these in Ohio…
    2 CitiCars, 2 Comuta-Cars…
    Here is our 1980 parked on Electric Boulevard in Alliance, Ohio.

    5+
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      That’s fantastic, Dave, thanks for sharing! I’m glad that there are others here who love these cars as much or more than I do.

      0
  10. junkman Member

    I can say from experience these cars hate hills. My driveway is 135 ft long with a height change of 10ft and she barely makes the trip on a full charge. Mine is the 48 volt version and will go 45mph on flat ground. I would never try to go more than 3 or 4 miles with it though because it starts feeling as though it’s running out of steam after that and I don’t like walking that much.

    1+
  11. Bill McCoskey

    A friend wanted to open up a used car dealership just north of Washington DC, but the local county had a rule that you had to buy an existing used car license, as they wanted to make sure the county didn’t have too many car lots.

    But there was an exception; If he held a new car franchise, that automatically gave him the used car license. So he took on the Citicar franchise, and that came with 2 cars and a basic parts inventory.

    I on’t think he really wanted to sell the 2 Citicars, because then he would have to buy more of them. As long as they were for sale, he had his used car lot, and in our area you made a lot more $ selling used cars.

    The reason [at least for these 2 cars he had] the interior metal items corroded is because when fast charging the batteries they put off a huge amount of sulfuric acid mist into the interior of the car. I used to help with the car repairs at the shop from time to time, and I learned real fast that when charging a Citicar, you removed the seat base, and kept both doors wide open, with a pedestal fan blowing fresh air thru the car’s interior. I understand that later cars didn’t have his problem.

    0
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Wow, that is invaluable information on the charging sequence, Bill! Thanks for sharing that. I wondered why there was always so much surface rust inside these things.

      0

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