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1917 Detroit Electric, class G, size 80 brougham

Made 1917
Automobile, full size, Detroit Electric car and parts, brougham body, 80 volt, 10 hp, Class G, Size 80, motor No.16770, metal / upholstery / glass, made by Anderson Electric Car Co., Detroit, Michigan, USA, 1917, used by Arthur and Denis Allen, Sydney, New South Wales, 1917-1947

The car has a two-metre tall, classic Detroit Electric brougham carriage-style body with two doors and is finished in blue. It has large windows all around with distinctive, elegant curved-glass quarter windows. The windscreen is a Hanlon patented rain-vision front window. The roof is pressed from a single sheet of aluminium, the tops of the doors have drip protectors, and the windows have wind-up mechanisms.

The interior is trimmed with fabric and the seating is upholstered in a similar material, deep buttoned in a diamond pattern. A rear bench seat accommodates three to four passengers, and there is a small, single, revolving Pullman chair in the front. This model Detroit Electric is fitted with dual controls which enabled the car to be driven from either the front or rear seats. The driving controls comprise two sets of parallel levers mounted on the left hand side. The set not in use was folded flat against the side of the car and locked into position with a key lock at the base of the levers. The longer lever is for steering; it is moved forward to turn left, and back to turn right. It is held in the right hand across the driver's lap. The short lever controls the electric power or current and is held in the left hand. It is pushed through five notches. On number 1 the wheels hardly turn and on number 5 the car is at full speed. On the side armrest at the driver's left hand are a switch for forward and reverse and switches for the lights. On the floor are a foot brake pedal and another pedal which can be linked to the brake pedal as a parking brake. The brakes are cable operated, working on the rear wheels only.

The only instrument on the dash panel is a battery power indicator (ampere hour meter) made by the Sangamo Electric Company of Springfield, Illinois. The 10 hp (7.5 kW) electric motor is mounted in the centre of the chassis, coupled to a conventional differential. Banks of batteries are arranged in line at the front and back of the car to maintain an even distribution of weight. The car had a range of between 40 and 65 miles (64-105 km) before the batteries had to be recharged.

The car was smooth, quiet and easy to drive. Once the occupants were seated, all that was required to move off was to have the direction switch set to forward. The control lever was then pushed forward and without a sound the car moved off, with a sedate rate of acceleration. Once in motion, the speed control could be pulled back to maintain a steady speed. The maximum speed on fully-charged batteries was about 30 mph (48 kph). To change direction the steering lever only needed to be moved a little, as the steering was very responsive. To slow down the control was moved to the "off" position, and if required the brakes could also be applied.

Motor: 80 volt, 10 hp (7.5 kW)
Motor No: 16770, Class G, Size 80
Steering: lever
Battery: 42 cells, 15 plates
Speed: 30 mph (48 kph)
Gears: 5 forward, 5 reverse,
Range: 65 miles (105 km)
Brakes: internal expanding on both rear wheels plus magnetic controller
Final drive: shaft and bevel gears
Wheelbase: 100 inches (2.54 m)
Drive: duplex (front or rear)

Notes on driving a Detroit Electric car supplied by Richard Pike.
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