1980 Comuta-car is electrifying antique

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With a maximum cruising speed of 38 mph and a maximum cruising range of 50 miles no electric-powered Comuta-car was ever destined to be a high-mileage vehicle.

But the odometer on Dave Kinney’s 1980 Comuta-car has registered only 117 miles in the past 25 years, an annual average of 4.68 miles.

Having had a couple of the diminutive cars in his college days when they were nearly new, Mr. Kinney never really shook the Comuta-car virus.

The 9-foot, 9-inch-long car was offered in six standard colors:

• Arctic white.

• Cascade red.

• Sebring green.

• Bermuda blue.

• Mandarin orange.

• Sun Country yellow.

For an extra $100 a Bar Harbor blue metallic color was also available.

In the summer of 2001 Mr. Kinney saw a 1980 Bermuda blue Comuta-car advertised for sale. As far as he could determine, a Comuta-car dealer in Baltimore had it as ademonstrator and, when production ceased, gave it to a friend. Mr. Kinney bought it from the second owner and trucked it to his Great Falls home. “I believe that I’m the third owner,” he says, “and the first titled owner.”

The government-mandated safety bumpers appear to be oversized for the car, but they also serve as access panels to the eight six-volt batteries that provide the juice to propel the shovel-nose car. The original base price was $3,995.

The Comuta-car, riding on a 63-inch wheelbase, is still supported — after all these years — by the original steel-belted Michelin 2X 135 SR 13-inch radial tires. The hubcaps look as if they were inspired by those on a 1957 Plymouth.

Standard equipment on the Comuta-car includes not only a heater but a defroster, a hatchback with tinted glass, white custom rally stripes on both sides of the car, heavy-duty batteries and, of course, those steel-belted radial tires.

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