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1973 Newspapers

Mass Production Begins

Robert Beaumont is the president of Vanguard Vehicles, Inc. In with the new year, his company had just initiated the first mass production of an electric vehicle with a contract for 1,050 vehicles being built by Club Car, Inc. in Augusta, Georgia. Many newspapers carried the news provided by the associated press.

Boston Test Drive

Soon after Mr. Beaumont’s trip to Bermuda, he was demonstrating his Vanguard Sport Coupe on the streets within his home state of New York. He took the Vanguard over to a reporter at the Boston Globe for a test run.

The reporter took notice that although similar in operation compared to other electric car conversions, Roberts’ electric car was actually built from the ground up as an electric car to reduce weight, and is actually being manufactured.

The car was registered to drive on the streets legally, but couldn’t drive on freeways with a minimum speed of 40 mph. The car was so quiet that, both a perk and a criticism, you could sneak up on pedestrians.

Two weeks after the article was published, contact information for Mr. Beaumont was provided in a Q&A section.

65th Annual Chicago Auto Show

February 24 – March 4, 1973
Show hours from 11am – 11pm
McCormick Place, world’s largest exposition center
23rd Street and Lake Michigan at Chicago’s lake front

Robert Beaumont checks his car, the Vanguard Electric Vehicle

The Vanguard went on display at the Chicago Auto Show in McCormick Place, making about three sales each day at $1,986.

While there, James Mateja, an Auto Editor for the Chicago Tribune, was offered to go on a test drive. He half-expected Bob to renege due to the impact of near freezing weather on lead-acid batteries, but Robert showed up with resounding confidence in the cars ability to perform, and the reporter was able to get his story. Although advertised with a top speed of 28 mph, Mr. Mateja could only get the car to go up to 15 at the most – possibly due to the colds effect on the lead acid batteries.

By the end of February, 118 units had been sold since fall of 1972. At a current production rate of 20 vehicles per day. Beaumont envisioned Florida as a big market for electric cars and the ideal location with its flat terrain. Plans are in the works to build another assembly plant in Sebring, Florida to produce 10,000 units annually. The plant will be ready by early fall with up to 120 employees.

Meter Maids

The city of Fort Lauderdale had purchased the Vanguard Sport Coupe as a trial for meter maids to combat the price of gas and maintenance of ICE vehicles.

ICE Catalyst Critic

The EPA was cracking down on pollution emitted by ICE vehicles. The automotive industry was looking into catalysts, but it wasn’t much of a promising solution just yet to chemically alter the pollution, which drew the ire of critics, Robert W. Irvine. Mr. Irvine wrote an article that suggested multiple alternatives rather than using combustion that would be more cost effective, rather than “patching” the engine to reduce emissions. The Vanguard Sport Coup electric car was called out for being a positive solution to urban shopping, currently being produced at 24 a day with more than 2,000 orders on the books.


By March, Vanguard Motors has sold a total of 118 since fall of 1972. The Vanguard Electric Sport Coup sells for under $2,000. It is also known as the Vanguard II, and about 20 are built in a day in Augusta, Georgia. It touts a range of 40-60 miles. The vehicle was exhibited at the Chicago show. A plant is in the making in Florida with a goal production of 10,000 cars per year.

In June, Robert L. Balfour (VP at Club Car, Inc., Augusta, Georgia) signed a $1.8 million contract to go into mass production manufacturing electric vehicles for Vanguard Vehicles, Inc. (in Kingston, N.Y.). 50 prototype vehicles were already manufactured in the past three years, and they had a six month backlog of orders, resulting in building a new plant in Sebring Florida.

In December, Robert Beaumont (President of Sebring-Vanguard Corp.) owned the exclusive production rights on the car. The prototype models were about $8,000, but engineering costs were able to reduce the suggested list price for the CitiCar down to $1,968.

  • January 3, 1973 First U.S. Electric Car Begins Mass Production, The Tennessean, p25
  • January 14, 1973 Flick the switch and away you go, Barry Cadigan, The Boston Globe, pB-49
  • January 28, 1973 Car Q & A, G.M., Arlington, The Boston Globe, page A-77
  • February 17, 1973 Quiet Please… Hamilton, Bermuda, AP, The Province, page 54
  • February 28, 1973 Minicoupe won’t set speed record, but won’t pollute, James Mateja, Chicago Tribute, p9
  • March 2, 1973 (A) ‘Microcar’ Displayed In Chicago, James Mateja, Chicago, The Miami Herald, p29-A
  • March 2, 1973 (B) Electric Car Costs 2 Cents Per Mile, Chicago, St. Petersburg Times, p14-A
  • March 3, 1973 ‘Microcar’ Displayed In Chicago, James Mateja, Chicago, The Miami Herald, p12-AW
  • March 8, 1973 Timely Observations, St. Joseph News-Press, page 6A
  • March 31, 1973 City Charged Up Over Electric Car, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Fort Lauderdale News, page 2B
  • April 26, 1973 How to Lose a Friend In Automaker Hierarchy, Robert W. Irvin, Detroit Michigan, Des Moines Tribute, p13
  • April 27, 1973 Detroit Auto Topics, Ed Janicki, Detroit, Kenosha News, p29
  • May 2, 1973 Auto Pollution Critics Spark Industry Reply, Robert W. Irvin, The Pittsburgh Press, p21
  • May 4, 1973 Why didn’t they build clean engine? Robert W. Irvin, Detroit, The Argus, p44
  • May 6, 1973 New Power Source for Automobiles Necessary To Combat Pollution? Robert W. Irvin Detroit, The Times-Tribune, p25-26
  • May 13, 1973 Vanguard II… Sales Booming, The Kingston Daily Freeman, p10
  • May 20, 1973 Electric Car Is Not a Toy, Ed Janicki, Sunday Call-Chronicle, pD-3
  • May 27, 1973 Deadlines Too Near For Different Engines, Robert W. Irvin, North American Newspaper Alliance, The Kansas City Start, page 10G
  • June 5, 1973 (A) Club Car Goes Mass Production, Naples Daily News, p8A
  • June 5, 1973 (B) Electric Autos Back on Road, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Ironwood Daily Globe, p14
  • June 5, 1973 (C) Electric Cars’ Revival Starts to Hum in Georgia, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Tallahassee Democrat, page 2
  • June 5, 1973 (D) Electric auto, The Evening News, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, p1
  • June 6, 1973 (A) Electric cars returning, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Central New Jersey Home News, p7
  • June 6, 1973 (B) Electrified auto firm optimistic, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Tucson Daily Citizen, p16
  • June 6, 1973 (C) An Electric Auto Purrs Along Comeback Trail, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Evening Sun, p41
  • June 6, 1973 (D) Electric car is in demand, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Baltimore Sun, p C 11
  • June 6, 1973 (E) Electric cars to be mass produced, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Times Herald, p8D
  • June 6, 1973 (F) Business Briefs, The Arizona Daily Star, page 9
  • June 6, 1973 Mass Production, Fort Myers News Press, page 16-A
  • June 7, 1973 (A) Renewed Interest Reported For Electric Automobile, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Fort With Star-Telegram, p4-C
  • June 7, 1973 (B) Humming Marvel (Electric Car) Making Comeback After 50 Years, The Tennessean, p64
  • June 7, 1973 (C) Electric car in comeback, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Deseret News, p2E
  • June 10, 1973 (A) Electric-auto builder shooting for second-, third-car market, AP, Augusta, Georgia, The Courier-Journal, page D10
  • June 10, 1973 (B) Electric Automobile Making Strong Bid for New Popularity, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Times-Tribune,, page B-9
  • June 10, 1973 (C) Only 28 M.P.H., But No-Gas Car Is In Big Demand, Augusta, Georgia, The Charlotte Observer, page 28
  • June 11, 1973 (A) Say Electric Auto Making Big Comeback, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Gettysburg Times p11
  • June 11, 1973 (B) Comeback Made by Electric Auto, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Spokane Daily Chronicle, p22
  • June 12, 1973 Comeback Seen For Electric Car, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Evening Standard, p3
  • June 13, 1973 (A) Electric car company bolstered by changing consumer currents, Augusta, Ga, The Morning News, p36
  • June 13, 1973 (B) Club Car Goes Mass Production, Pensacola News Journal, p6G
  • June 14, 1973 Electric Car Coming Back, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Evening Sun, p5
  • June 15, 1973 Electric autos return to road, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Tampa Times, p18-A
  • June 20, 1973 Comeback Looms for Electric Auto, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Philadelphia Inquirer, p6-E
  • June 23, 1973 Fuel Lack Aids Electric Car Maker, Augusta, Georgia, AP, The Sacramento Bee, pC7
  • June 24, 1973 Bystanders Hail Electric Car Proudly Driven by Fairfielder, Helen A. Jankoski, Fairfield, The Bridgeport Post, pC-1
  • June 25, 1973 Electric Autos Making Comeback, AP, The Indiana Gazette, p15
  • July 1, 1973 Growing UP to the Small Car, Ed Jamicki, Detroit, The San Francisco Examiner, p16
  • July 25, 1973 Humming marvel, dealt mortal blow, still running, Augusta, Georgia, AP, Reno Evening Gazette, p19
  • October 11, 1973 Electric vehicle display at seminar, Wausau Daily Herald, p29
  • October 26, 1973: 1974 Models In Spotlight At Auto Show, The Miami Herald, p2-C
  • October 31, 1973 Big message is safety equipment, new or redesigned domestic cars, The Miami News, p12-E
  • November 1, 1973 Auto Show A Feast For The Eyes, The Miami News, p7A
  • December 6, 1973 (A) Production Of Electric Car Nears, Sebring Florida, AP, Tallahassee Democrat p35
  • December 6, 1973 (B) Cheap Electric Car To Be Manufactured, AP, Sebring, Florida, The Orlando Sentinel, p6-A
  • December 7, 1973 (A) Production Nears On Electric Car, Sebring Florida, AP, The Miami Herald, page 2b
  • December 7, 1973 (B) $2,000 Electric Auto Ready for Production, AP, Sebring, Florida, Florida Today, p8B
  • December 9, 1973 (A) March Debut Set For Electric Car, AP, Sebring Florida, Fort Lauderdale News, p16E
  • December 9, 1973 (B) Orders Mounting For Electric Cars, Sebring Florida, AP, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution p26-A
  • December 13 , 1973 Sebring Electric Car Planned, AP, Sebring, Florida, St. Petersburg Times, p10-c
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