1922 Detroit Electric Duplex Drive (Model 93)

 

General information:

Detroit Electric was one of the longest surviving automobile manufactures dedicated solely to producing electric powered vehicles. Prior to 1907, the company was known as the Anderson Carriage Company, and they were one of the earliest champions of battery power for their line of lightweight city cars. After re-incorporating as Detroit Electric, the firm steadily grew, experiencing respectably strong sales throughout the teens and into the twenties, with production peaking at nearly 5,000 vehicles per year. The Detroit catalog included a variety of bodies, including open touring cars and even a sporty underslung roadster. Yet the bulk of production was comprised of fully-enclosed coupes and sedans. These luxurious, formally-styled closed cars were the preferred transport of well-to-do, city-dwelling women who appreciated the Detroit Electric's silent, smoke-free, no-hassle operation. The Detroit's mechanical simplicity was particularly appealing in the days before the self-starting petrol engine, when the act of simply starting a motorcar could be dangerous.

But as the petrol engine evolved, electric car sales dwindled and the company focused more on commercial vehicle production. Passenger cars were still offered on a special-order basis throughout the twenties, but the outdated looks did little to attract new customers. Detroit Electric attempted to modernize their line by purchasing bodies from Willys-Overland, and later Dodge. The refresh afforded them enough sales to carry on production and remarkably, a new Detroit Electric could be ordered as late as 1939!

 Thomas Alva Edison and Detroit Electric car

The famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison infront of a Detroit Electric car

 

History and data of our car:

This 1922 Detroit Electric Coupe is a rare Model 93 “Duplex Drive” model, featuring separate drive controls for front or rear passengers. Typical for Detroit Coupes of the era, it features a spacious cabin arranged with swiveling parlor-style seating in front, and a large overstuffed bench in the rear. The parlor seats allow occupants to turn and converse with their fellow passengers, assuming they're not the one doing the driving.

The car was offered in winter 2020 by a leading American classic car dealer and RM Sotheby´s. It will be restored in the next years in my workshop and will be ready for a "green" trip afterwards. There are only a few cars of this type left in the world and only a much smaller number in Europe.  

With virtually all of today's major manufacturers turning to electric and alternative fuel vehicles, we can easily say that the Detroit Electric was a machine well ahead of its time, and this charming Model 93 provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one of the great pioneers of the American motoring industry.


Year of construction: 
1922

Factory: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Drive train:  Electric, 84 V, 42 battery cells 

Steering and speed controlled by 2 sets of tiller arms

Power: 45 km/h

Gearbox: no, direct drive

 

All photos are under copyright of RM Sotheby´s.

 

1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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1922 Detroit Electric
1922 Detroit El...
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