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Back to Inventory The Scottsdale Auction | January 26 Register to Bid

Selling on Friday

1918 Detroit Electric Model 75

  • An early pioneer in green energy and the electric car market
  • Recently fitted with new batteries and extensively freshened
  • A rare and seldom-seen example
  • Eligible for a plethora of AACA events and outings
  • Updated with Model 97B features in period

VIN: 11290

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The Detroit Electric Car Company was founded in 1907 by Anderson Electric Car Company and soon became one of the most successful electric car manufacturers of its time. Named after its batteries' claimed range of 75 miles, the model 75 featured an elegant design for its time, with a spacious and charming parlor-style cabin that could accommodate up to five passengers. As the years went on, new models were introduced which featured slightly different styling cues and grew the company's name and reputation. Radically priced at $2,375, about four times the cost of a Ford Model T and the inevitable advancement of combustion engines forced the Detroit Electric Car Company to fold and close its doors in 1939, leaving a lasting impression on the EV market, that can be seen today.

An early pioneer in green energy and the electric car market, this 1918 Detroit Electric Model 75 is a rare and seldom-seen surviving example that has recently been thoroughly refreshed and fitted with new batteries and new Firestone wide whitewall tires. Acquired by the current caretaker in 2021, the previous Massachusetts-based owner purchased this electric gem in 1993. Before his 28 years of enthusiastic ownership, it resided in an Ohio-based collection where it was rightfully restored and repainted. According to Galen Handy, Detroit Electric historian, it is believed this original Model 75 was traded back into the dealership in period and updated with Model 97B styling features and cues. Galen Handy also noted that the Model 75 is one of the best drivers of the classic-looking electric cars, elevating its drivability among other early electric automobiles. Styling cues that accentuate this example are blue-painted wood wheels, original Detroit hubcaps, and a pop-out windshield.

The charming parlor-style cabin with swivel seats and tiller controls, is trimmed in a lavish blue cloth period-style upholstery. To control this EV Model 75, the operator uses two pedals that are placed in front of the left side of the rear bench seats. With no transmission or clutch to worry about, maintenance is primarily focused on the batteries, of which this example was recently fitted with an entirely new set. The dash is adorned with a clock and three gauges, including a DC volt meter, DC amperes meter, and one that tracks the speed and mileage.

An automobile that many have never seen, let alone heard of, this Detroit Electric would undoubtedly add a unique touch of vintage charm to one's collection. Way ahead of its time, and way ahead of the EV craze seen today, this 1918 Detroit Electric Model 75 is a true testament to innovation during the progressive era and one that helped set the standard for almost all EV automobiles to follow.

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