1914 Detroit Electric Model 46 Cape Top Roadster

1914 Detroit Electric Model 46 Cape Top Roadster

The Detroit Electric Company of Detroit, Michigan was an automobile producer of electric vehicles. The Anderson Carriage Company had been established in Port Huron, Michigan in 1884 and moved to Detroit in 1895. In 1907, the company began producing automobiles under the name Detroit Electric and carried a design by George M. Bacon. About 125 were built that first year followed by 400 the following year. For 1910, production rose to 1,500 vehicles.

Electric vehicles were a popular option due to their ease of use and quiet operation. At the dawn of the automobile age, steam, internal combustion, and electricity vied for popularity. Internal combustion won out over steam when gasoline engines became reliable and convenient to operate. Electric cars suffered from limited range and lack of infrastructure, for homes without electricity lacked the means to recharge batteries.

Thus the golden age of the electric car did not begin until 1910, when electric mains had reached a significant portion of the US population.

This 1914 Detroit Electric Model 46 was shipped to the California Electric Garage on November 20th of 1914. It had been ordered by Robert Liddle, of Pasadena at a cost of $2,400. It was finished in blue with '#53 cloth' upholstery. Later, the car was owned by the Norris Claberg family, of Oxnard, California. Mrs. Claberg sold it to William Harrah in the mid-1960s, after the death of her husband. When Mr. Harrah's collection was dispersed in the 1980s, it joined the Imperial Palace Collection, at which time the current restoration was performed. It was shown at the Blackhawk Exposition at Pebble Beach in 2000 and was later acquired by collector John McMullen in Michigan, who passed it on to James Cousens for his Cedar Crossing Collection. Mr. John O'Quinn purchased the car from Mr. Cousens.

This Detroit Electric is finished in ivory with red moldings and chassis. The artillery wheels are highlighted by varnished wood spokes, and the interior features grey cloth with beige carpet. There is Nickel trim, principally on the lights and aluminum running boards with a cast diamond pattern.

It is believed there are only two other Model 46 Detroit Electric roadsters sill in existence. One is on permanent display at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, New York. The other example is at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.

This example has a 4.3 horsepower, 48-volt DC motor with a five-speed controller.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & en.wheelsage & flickr & auto.vercity

Production Start 1914
Country of origin USA