1930 Detroit Electric

In the early days of the last century steam and electric automobiles vied on an even footing -- and sometimes from a position of advantage -- with cantankerous, noisy, fume-spitting gasoline cars. Range was of little significance: there were no roads of consequence outside city limits so few automobile owners ventured more than a few miles from home, and the security of an electric tap. A quiet, simple to operate electric was favored by many and William C. Anderson's Detroit Electric Car Company was the leader in design, style and construction. Gradually, though, the gasoline automobile surpassed the electric's popularity. Detroit slowly evolved to resemble gasoline cars with standard bodies, conventional hoods and even radiator shells. By the early 30's production had declined in the Wall Street Crash's wake to under 200 cars per year. This 1930 Detroit Electric Model 97 Coupe, however, still looks like an electric. With its factory-built body, low hood and understated nose it is immediately recognizable as something set apart from its gasoline-powered cousins. Tire sizes were reduced to only 19 inches even if they still rode on wood spoke wheels, softening the effect of the tall, and formally shaped coupe coachwork with large windows. The odometer on this 1930 Detroit Electric Model 97 shows only 2,361 miles and may well be all it has covered from new. It is, aside from an old repaint in blue with black fenders, a clean, shiny, pretty and unusual highly original car. The grey striped interior upholstery and trim is sound, serviceable, usable and original, aside from a few moth holes. It came from the dry, benign climate of Ontario, California and its condition bespeaks a sheltered, carefully preserved life. The batteries and cables evidence recent replacement and the continuing care it has received over the years. Recently detailed, it can and should be used as is to continue its preservation. Detroit Electric continued to build automobiles to order almost to the end of the Thirties; this 1930 Model 97 Coupe has survived much longer and will still strut its stuff proudly in a field of modern hybrids, Fiskers and Teslas.

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