Colonel Albert Pope enjoyed much success as a bicycle manufacturer, eventually becoming the nation's largest producer. Following this success, he turned his attention to the automobile. In 1896, he completed an experimental electric car. The following year, he hired Hiram Percy Maix to head the motor carriage department of the Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut. Before the close of the century, the company had built several hundred more electrics under the Columbia name.
The Electric Vehicle Company was started by Isaac L. Rice in New York City. His goal was build electric taxicabs, which he successfully managed to do, putting several dozen in service and proving their worth during the City's blizzard of 1899. Financier William Collins Whitney took notice and bought the company. Needing a manufacturing base, Collins approached Colonel Pope. The result was the Columbia Automobile Company of Hartford, organized in 1899.
For 1902, the company had nine models of Columbia electrics, including a Victoria and Runabout, plus several other bodystyles. In addition to the electrics, they also had a single Mark VII gasoline runabout.
The Mark LXX electric Victoria Phaeton was offered from 1908 to 1911. This example was purchased from the James Cousens Cedar Crossing Collection in 2008 by the John O'Quinn collection. Cousens had treated the car to a complete nut-and-bolt restoration and finished it in Brewster Green with black leather upholstery and top. It is lightly trimmed in nickel and rides on all-white rubber tires. It is powered by a direct-drive GE motor, has two-wheel mechanical brakes, and rides on a wheelbase that measures 71.5-inches.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the RM Auction's Amelia Island sale. It was estimated to sell for $50,000 - $90,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $66,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.