About This Site


Galen and father Jamison Handy in Clementine

Galen and Jamison Handy (Jr.), c.1959, in Clementine, a 1917 Model 62 Detroit Electric Cabriolet, one of two remaining.


There has always been an antique electric car in my family. My father, Jamison “Jux, Jamie” Handy (Jr.) (1914 – 1996), bought Clementine in 1935 while attending college in Detroit. He re-connected with Alfred F. Renz (they had met briefly in Evanston, IL), and did odd jobs for the last remnant of the Detroit Electric Car Company as a working business.


When Renz finally closed down his little repair and rebuild factory in 1939, Jux had moved to the west coast.


During WWII gasoline rationing he was able to justify, to his young bride, the expense of shipping the car from Detroit to Los Angeles.


Jux thought it was a good idea to keep Detroit Electric alive as a legal entity, with hopes of finding backers to continue making cars. He became Secretary of Detroit Electric, as a dormant company registered in Michigan. Around the early 1960s he had stationary printed from an engraved copper plate, with the Company logo, to solicit investors. He received a few letters expressing mild interest, but nothing serious. We did visit some great private car collections, for the repair of a few antique electrics, and examined some recent attempts at new ones. A. F. Renz sent the remaining shipping ledgers and engineering drawings (mostly ink on hard finished linen), along with miscellaneous literature and photos, to my father, who later added some material that Elwood T. Stretch, who worked for Detroit Electric from 1908 to 1939, gave him.


Clementine was the first car I ever drove––a short distance in the driveway. Over the years Jux acquired a couple more Detroit Electrics.


I was educated in architecture, but also studied electronics, and had a commercial broadcast license. Most of my career was as a sound recording engineer, specializing in sound for picture, including movies and television.


When my father died, I was left with the shipping ledgers, engineering drawings, and such. Most of my knowledge of these cars and their history was word-of-mouth from Jux. To get a better Idea of the archive, culled from the various garages he rented, I started researching the subject. What became obvious was that the available information about electric cars made before the world wars was fragmentary; riddled with errors and false assumptions. I had the original shipping ledgers from Detroit Electric, from the first car shipped to the last one sold. Although there were some gaps, this information is pure data; not influenced by image-makers in the marketing departments, rosy press releases about expected sales, or sloppy research by the press and later day authors. The hard evidence and perceived history were in conflict.


Over the past dozen years I have read through much of the contemporaneous material, such as newspapers, magazines, and trade publications, relating to electric vehicles. The archive is expanded, with sales brochures and other literature, to fill in information on all of the brands.

With serial numbers from the known remaining cars, and period automotive registration records, I have built databases relating to the sales date of the cars, motors, and meters. These resources have allowed me to clear up the model and manufacture date of individual electric vehicles for many museums and collectors around the world.


This site was originally put up in 2006, and had the best information available at that time. An update was long overdue. Since retirement, research and writing about the subject has become my main project.


I appreciate constructive contributions and can use more information about the cars made outside of North America.


Galen Handy



Galen with Favourite 1938 Peugeot 402

1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Pourtout Roadster

Galen visiting the O’Quinn collection, photo ©2009 Judé Routh