Golf Cart Alternative: Electra King Collection

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Old-school electric vehicles seemingly maintain a strong enough following that they still appear on craigslist with some regularity. Also impressive is the sheer variety, showing us that the interest in building vehicles not reliant on gasoline has been strong for decades. This pair of Electra Kings here on craigslist (plus one more project) were made by the B&Z Electric Car Company of California, and while not tremendously valuable, they are a fascinating look back at our electric car past.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jack M. for the find. Made in both three- and four-wheeled configurations, the Electra King lineup featured both 1 b.h.p motors good for about 18 m.p.h., and later on, adapted to larger engines that made close to 40 m.p.h. achievable. The seller doesn’t distinguish which models are which, but does say that they are 1964 models – which would put them before the larger engine came about.

Having never driven a three-wheeled vehicle, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around this setup ever being confidence-inspiring. The Electra King company continued its operations until the early 1980s, which strikes me as ironic given the country was aware of how over-reliant we had become on big, heavy, fuel-hungry vehicles. Shouldn’t electric cars have surged in popularity at this juncture?

Here’s the “plus one” I mentioned, which the seller describes as a Autoette Cruise About convertible. This one features a metal body with tiller steering, and there’s some rust in the body. At this point, old electric vehicles like this have little use (in my opinion) as anything more than parade vehicles or gated community transport, if whizzing to the golf course in your Club Car has gotten too pedestrian. Have any of you ever driven an Electra King?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email!

Comments

  1. Fred H

    Cute as a #2 pencil

    4
  2. Kenneth Carney

    Hey wait a minute, I could use these!!!
    They’d be great for short hops to the
    store or running errands–provided you
    stayed off Havendale Boulevard, where
    some distracted driver would squash
    you like a grape! But seriously, just
    swap out those puny little motors for
    say an 8, or a 10 HP unit, add some
    lithium-ion battery stacks, a 3-way
    charging system, and you’d have a
    winner! Could see myself cruising
    around town or to our monthly car
    show in downtown Winter Haven.
    I’d park the car in a sunny spot,
    pop up the roof mounted solar panel,
    and trickle charge the car while
    sketching pictures of all the other
    cars being displayed there. I can almost
    guarantee you’ll be the center of attention
    wherever you go. Since it is an amped
    up tricycle, care would have to be taken
    when turning a corner–otherwise, you
    could flip it like an English Reliant.
    Note to driver: No sharp turns or sudden
    movement of the steering wheel. Doing
    so would be hazardous to your health and
    safety. That’s what I’d do with ’em, how
    about you?

    2
    • leiniedude Member

      Hey Kenneth, I would put a couple of pontoons under them and putz around on them on the river the I live on. Hey bud, I am coming your way to visit 2 of my Brothers this winter. 1 in Cape Coral and the other I think by you, in the Villages. I would like to see you, maybe hear you jam. If you are OK with that send me an email at canoe@tds.net. Take care, Mike.

    • Bob

      Fellow Polk County guy here. I’ve been to that show in downtown WH quite a few times. There’s a monthly one in Bartow too.
      Yes, Havendale is pretty bad. I try to avoid it when possible. I go under it in my boat frequently though!

  3. Farhvergnugen

    I don’ think you DRIVE these things, as much as AIM them, like an unrifled musket, and hope for the best…
    Better suggestion is to add a strap across the top and use them as oversized flip flops.

    1
  4. Bill McCoskey

    These were never intended to be used on legal roadways, most were bought new by corporate customers with large areas including warehouses, airports, country clubs [not the golfing part], etc. Plus sales agents for private communities used them to take potential buyers around for tours.

  5. Pete Kaczmarski

    These should only be used at camping sites where gas engines are not allowed. Real men own a King Midget.

    1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.