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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Old Meets New

The 1917 Detroit Electric was the hit of the car meet
Cars and Croissants is a local, informal gathering of rare car owners who meet on weekends in Northern New Jersey. Fellow ActiveE driver Chris Neff has been going to the meets for the past couple years to show off his electric ActiveE. While the parking lots where the events are held are filled with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and other rare and very expensive cars, the ActiveE and other electric cars attract a lot of attention from the other car owners. These are car buffs (some would say car "nuts") so they are very interested in anything rare or different, both of which the ActiveE is.
My ActiveE with a Ferrari on one side and the Detroit Electric behind it was in nice company!

Chris has also recruited other EV owners to attend so now there is usually an "electric section" every week and I go whenever my work schedule allows it. This week we had a special treat. Just before I arrived a completely restored 1917 Detroit Electric silently rolled into the lot and parked right next to a Model S. Needless to say this made the electric section the busiest area of the whole parking lot. However they weren't there to see the Model S, the Roadster, the Ford Focus electric or the two ActiveEs, everyone wanted to check out the Detroit Electric and I don't blame them as it was gorgeous.

The owners recently bought it and spent a lot of time and obviously money restoring it back to the original form. They even had to have some of the parts like the decorative wheel hub covers custom made. The owner said he has driven it over 30 miles on a charge and that it still had a lot more in it but he didn't want to push it. The original Detroit Electrics were known to go up to 100 miles per charge depending on which battery they had but the top speed is only about 25 mph which was typical of cars back then.

It was great to see such a piece of electric car history up close. Chris got the contact information from the owner and hopefully we can get him to come to some of our New Jersey Electric Automobile Association meetings and other electric events. The car was just brilliant to admire in person and the pictures here don't even do it justice.


  1. Great post Tom, looks like a real nice car.
    Eddie B

  2. There is a guy in my area with a Detroit electric, he found it in a barn in such good original condition that he didn't do anything to it but put air in the tires and refilled the alkaline in the original batteries.


  3. Simply gorgeous! What an Automobile!

    Is it just me or is there a slight similarity with the i3?

  4. Nice post Tom...

    Any contrasting shots between the classic and the Model S that it was parked beside?

    What do they plug in to? 110V or did they convert it to J1772?