St. John's | Lot 132

1918 Detroit Electric Model 75B Brougham

From the Collection of William Ruger Jr.

$44,000 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

28 July 2012

Chassis No.

4.3 hp, 84-volt DC motor, five-speed controller, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 100"

• An unmolested original

• Ex-Earle S. Eckel and Edwin Jameson

• Offered from the collection of William Ruger Jr.

This superlative original 1918 Detroit Electric wears livery of Prussian Blue with black fenders, which are amazingly intact. The interior, including carpeting, upholstery, and headliner, all the way down to the bud vases is immaculate; it displays none of the moth damage or sagging that would be expected from cloth of this age. The underside presents well, and even the yellow wire spoke wheels have been spared from the touch of a well-meaning preservationist.

This example was owned by pioneering collector Earle S. Eckel, of Washington, New Jersey. A title still with the car proves he owned it as early as 1967, but a New Jersey registration sticker from 1948 indicates longer term ownership. Eckel, whose monogram still resides on the doors, was a founder of the AACA and the Steam Automobile Club of America. Eckel sold off much of his collection in the 1970s, prior to his death, and it is likely during this period that he sold the car to wealthy English WWII aviator and self-described “collector of things” Edwin C. Jameson Jr., who maintained estates in Sharon, Connecticut, New York City, and England.

Bill Ruger acquired the car from Jameson’s Estate and sourced replacement tires from Coker, copies of the original wiring diagram, and an original 1914 Detroit Electric instruction book. Consistent with his desire for all things to be functional, Mr. Ruger had an 84-volt charger custom-made, which still uses the original charging plug, at a cost of $1,800. He has also prepared an instructional document called “Detroit Electric: Controller Discussion.” All contacts have been cleaned, and the lights run off a separate 12-volt battery; modern sealed beam headlights have been installed inside the original housings. As an outstanding, unmolested original with provenance to match, this Electric has much to offer to a variety of collectors.

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