Thursday, September 2, 2010

A 1931 Detroit Electric Car Heads To The Auction Block

When the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt go on sale in December, they should give a spark of recognition to their forebears -- cars like this 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97 Brougham.

Old Sparky is going on the auction block this weekend in Auburn, Ind.
By 1931, it was pretty clear that gasoline was going to kill electric power. But Detroit Electric would live on for eight more years:

Detroit Electric produced its first electric car in 1907, a time when it was entirely unclear whether electricity or gasoline -- or both -- would become the fuel of choice for a fast-growing motoring America. Well, we all know how that turned out. One huge advantage for electric power: It was clean and there was no crank starter like on gas models.

The Detroit Electric name has been resurrected today for one of the new breed of electric cars that will taking to America's streets in the next couple of years.

RM Auctions, which is putting the 1931 model on the block this weekend through its Auctions America by RM subsidiary, says as few as 110 Detroit Electric cars and one truck remain today. "This fascinating example from 1931 is nicely restored and features wooden artillery wheels with whitewall tires, tiller steering, gray upholstery and a swiveling passenger seat," the auction house says.

Wooden wheels? Tiller steering? Sounds pretty primitive even for 1931.

From USA Today


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