1917 Detroit Electric Model 64 A

5-Passenger Brougham
Sale Price
$30,000 - $40,000
Est. Range
19 August 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older Restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 9341. Two-tone gray over gray cloth. 48-volt DC electric motor with an estimated 3 bhp, 16-volt batteries, tiller steering, painted wire wheels, Lincoln wide whitewalls tiller steering, wood window trim.

Evaluation: Published in the catalogue as a 1914 Model 47 A but later found to be a 1917 model year 64 A. Restored in the 1980s. Numerous chips and cracks in old paint. Aged brightwork. Paint coming off the wheels. Old tires. Lightly worn seats. An interesting early electric from Detroit Electric, one of the better known early electric carmakers that built about 13,000 units before going bust in 1939.

Bottom Line: As EVs become a bigger and bigger part of the automotive ecosystem, it only makes sense that early electrics, which roamed our roads in greater numbers than most people realize 100 years ago, are more relevant to collectors than ever. But nobody expected this eye-popping number, including Bonhams whose high estimate is less than a third of the car’s final price. While some in the car space were talking about the significance of two first-gen Tesla Roadsters coming to Monterey and the collectability of modern EVs, this 105-year-old relic with tiller steering comes along and sells for more than both of them.

by Andrew Newton
3 September 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.