- Written by webmin
Since we last spoke with Bob McKee regarding the pre-fuel crisis Sundancer electric cars that he built, Bob has forwarded on to us plenty of paperwork he thought we might find interesting, including the paper regarding the Sundancer that he (along with Boris Borisoff of Tork-Link and Frank Lawn and James Norberg of ESB) presented to the Society of Automotive Engineers for the organization’s 1972 congress in Detroit. Bob also happened to turn up the brochure that Globe-Union printed for the 1978 Endura, the car that he likes to refer to as the Sundancer’s big brother.
Globe-Union, founded in Milwaukee in 1911, had at one point been the largest automotive replacement battery supplier thanks to its agreement with Sears to produce the DieHard line of batteries. Ostensibly seeking to position practical electric cars as an alternative to dependence on foreign sources of oil (though probably more interested in expanding the market for its EV batteries), Globe-Union in 1977 or 1978 sought out Bob McKee and asked him to build them an electric car.
While the Sundancer that he built 10 years prior was a capable electric vehicle (Mechanix Illustrated called it a “practical” electric car), it was obviously not something the family was going to pile into for a trip to little Jimmy’s baseball game. So Bob and his men at McKee Engineering trotted out the backbone battery bank concept that Bob had already patented and whipped up a fiberglass-bodied four-seater around it, this time using a 20hp electric motor juiced by 120 volts of electricity (the Sundancer used an 8hp motor at 72 volts). Perhaps the most interesting thing about the body was the interchangeable rear body sections that transformed the car from a hatchback into a station wagon.
The brochure doesn’t directly mention range figures or top speed, but claimed that the Endura could cover more than 100 miles at speeds of 30-35 MPH and could top 65 MPH. Charging time was given as 14-16 hours at 110 volts and seven hours at 220 volts.
So far, the fate of the Endura remains unknown. Globe-Union merged with Johnson Controls in 1978, and Johnson actually includes a picture of the Endura on its website. Could it be sitting in a Johnson warehouse somewhere in Milwaukee?