1920 Detroit Electric Model 82 Brougham

Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Detroit Electric Model 82 has a 4.3-horspower, 84-volt DC motor, direct shaft drive, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The wheelbase is 100 inches.

Over the course of its 30-year lifespan, the Anderson Electric Car Company, builders of the Detroit Electric, produced more electric automobiles than any other American passenger-car manufacturer. Somewhat in vain, they tried to keep up with modern fashions, and by 1920 had updated their charmingly upright bodies with a dummy front hood and a false radiator, resembling that of a Franklin or Fiat. The bodies were built at H&M Body Corporation of Racine, WI.

This particular car is one of the few of these later Detroit Electrics known to survive, and it is perhaps the only one with a known ownership history since new. Originally built as serial number 12678, it was reassigned its current number, 12578, shortly before being shipped to the Gray-Dort Motor Company, a short distance over the Detroit River in the southwestern Ontario railroad and agricultural town of Chatham, Ontario, CAN.

One of a believed 95 Detroit Electric Model 82s made, and one of very few that remain extant, this car boasts a fascinating and well-known ownership history that is second to none, as well as a high-quality restoration for one of the foremost electric-car collectors.

Mark Wigginton

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Mark knows his way around a keyboard as well as a road course. He traded a 25-year career in newspaper journalism, with senior editor positions in Los Angeles, San Jose and Portland, OR, for the chance to manage Portland International Raceway in 2000. It was a case of moving from one love affair to another, driven by his love of racing nurtured as a teen turned loose at Riverside Raceway. He went into newspapers out of college as a way to get involved in racing, deciding a press pass was the fastest way to the front of the grid. He regularly reviews motorsports books for SCM, and he’s always in search of the elusive pony in the pile.

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