Sold for $176,000 at 2006 Gooding & Company. This 1914 Locomobile Model 48 Seven-Passenger Touring Car was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction at Pebble Beach where it was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $90,000-100,000. It is the product of a recent repaint and was formerly in the collection of James A. Conant. Under his care the car was shown at many events and driving tours and is one of the most exquisite of its kind. It has period-correct octagonal lamps, octagon dashboard, octagonal frames around the instrumentation, and more. The use of the octagon shape was a common practice for the Locomobile Company and helped differentiate it from other cars of the day.
It is powered by a six-cylinder 525 cubic-inch engine mated to a four-speed gearbox capable of traveling comfortably at speeds of 55 mph. At auction there was much interest in the vehicle and the price of the vehicle continued to escalate. Being in such wonderful condition and the prospects of a great touring automobile surly helped escalate the price. At the conclusion of the bidding, the car had been sold at $176,000. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
'Easily, the Best Built Car in America' The Locomobile Company of America was incorporated in 1899 by John Walker, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and the asphalt magnate, Amzi Barber. Walker arranged for the Stanley brothers to sell their steam-car business for $250,000, which is what Barber had paid for half of the Locomobile business. After four months the partnership split up, with Walker building the same car, now called the Mobile. The Stanley car was renamed Locomobile and more than 4,000 cars were produced by 1902. A gasoline powered car was designed in secret and introduced in 1903. Steam car production ended in 1904.
Locomobile was later known for building some of the finest automobiles, and was considered by some to be the American Rolls-Royce. In 1911, the renowned 525 cubic-inch, T-head, six-cylinder Model 48 was introduced. It would remain in production until 1924. Cars were available in three wheelbases, the Model 38 of 132 inches, with a 43.8 horsepower engine, and the Model 48 of 136 or 140 inches, with a 48.6 horsepower version. A four-speed transmission was used and the car could cruise at 55 mph on the occasionally encountered truly good road.
Octagonal shapes, such as the lamps and instruments, were a common theme for Locomobile and helped to differentiate it from the other cars. By 1914, custom body builders were often contracted to build bodies for wealthy clients. Accessories by Tiffany Studios were also not uncommon on Locomobiles.
The Locomobile Company was founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1899 and produced steam powered cars during their early years of existence. By 1903, the company had produced their first gasoline fueled cars. In 1905, they began producing racecars and in 1906 built two 90 horsepower racecars which were entered in the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup races that year. While they were among the fastest cars to qualify, their potential victories were hampered by tire problems. The Vanderbilt Cup races were suspended in 1907, but in 1908 the races were once again held, and one of the two Locomobile racecars won the race. It was the first international race to be won by an American built automobile.
The company's first six-cylinder production car was introduced in 1911. It was called the Model 48 and was among the most expensive luxury cars built in America. The Model 48 soon became the flagship model for Locomobile and would be built from 1911 to 1926 using the same basic mechanical designs.
The current owners of this Locomobile Model 48 have driven it on several cross country tours and have covered tens of thousands of miles. At 95 years old, it remains a testament to the quality of cars that the Locomobile Company produced. The Locomobile Model 48 is the only pre-1918 vehicle considered a Full Classic by the prestigious Classic Car Club of America.
Locomobile emerged after the Stanley Brothers sale of their steam powered automobile business. A.L. Barber separated from his partner, J.B. Walter and did a brisk business selling a steam powered runabout that sold for $600. The steam business was eventually sold back to the Stanley Brothers and gasoline powered vehicles were produced.
The Model 48 debuted in 1911. Locomobiles were expensive and beautifully made automobiles. The T-head engine featured a square design with both a bore and stroke of 114mm.
This car was bought by the current owner in 2006. The chassis had been shipped to Australia in the late 1970's and the present speedster body and trim installed. The car was used for vintage tours and racing.
The name '48' was used by the Locomobile Company to signify their six-cylinder engines that were originally rated at 48 horsepower. The first Model 48 was introduced in 1911 and remained in production until 1924. At this point, horsepower had skyrocketed to just over 100. When it was first introduced it was a marvel both aesthetically and mechanically. By the mid-1920s it had begun to show its age. Sales reflected and as a result the company was forced to increase their price.
During the mid-1910s, the Company experimented with custom coachwork to appeal to their wealthy clients. The vehicles were built to customer specifications and created to satisfy their needs and desires. The use of accessories by Tiffany Studios was not uncommon for the Locomobile Company at this time. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
Owned by elite members of upper East Coast aristocracy like Vanderbilt, Wanamaker, Melon, Gould and Governor Cox of Massachusetts, and prestigious members of the West like Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. DeMille, the Locomobile Model 48 was one of the most expensive and elegant automobiles ever manufactured in the United States. Weighing 3 tons, the six-cylinder Model 48 came arrived on the scene in 1911 and became known as the 'Best Built Car in America'. During its eight-year production run the most famous Locomobile was originally priced at $4,800, which would eventually rise to $9,600. By 1923 the Model 48, advertised as the 'The Exclusive Car for Exclusive People' was in such demand that the automobile was produced at a rate of two per day.
Locomobile began is story as a manufacture of inexpensive light steam carriages before they began building gasoline-powered automobiles. By 1904 the company had transformed itself into a luxury brand and experimented with custom coachwork in an attempt at appealing to wealthy clientele. The automobiles were built to exact customer specification and accessories came from Tiffany Studios.
Locomobile found itself trying to reinstate itself in the premier auto market once again in 1921 after a new board of directors seated themselves at the helm. At the Bridgeport plant using overstocked parts, the Model 48 was assembled with engineer Andrew Lawrence Riker making mechanical improvements. Unfortunately for the Locomobile Company, Riker left the company in 1921.
The Locomobile Company named the Series 8, Model '48' to signify their six-cylinder engines that were originally rated at 48 horsepower. Introduced in 1911, the '48' would continued in production until 1924 and was constructed of magnesium bronze, aluminum and steel. The wheelbase of the Model 48 was nearly 30 inches longer than that of a modern Chevy Suburban. Many of the powertrain components were cast in bronze, while the chassis was constructed of chrome-nickel steel. The Model 48 would be one of the few luxury automobiles whose production period would span the brass, nickel and chrome eras. It was an expensive, old-fashioned vehicle for wealthy, conservative, old-fashioned people.
Featuring balloon tires, the 48 sported Buffalo wire wheels and nickel-plated or brass trim. Most Locomobiles features two spares, and the option of two-wheel drum brakes or four-wheel brakes. Demarest was responsible for the body of the Model 48, and was something not often seen – a six-fendered car with the fifth and six fenders sit just in front of the rear passenger compartment. At first the Model 48 was met with fanfare and popularity, but before long the basic design of the car, even with numerous mechanical improvements, was an outdated design. Horsepower dwindled down to just over 100, and sales of the basically unchanged Model 48 continued through 1932 and 1924, still using 1919 parts. Late in 1924 the new Model 48 was debuted; the 19,000 Series. Though it was basically the same car, 19000 Series sold for $2,000 less.
The following year the Model 48 was officially discontinued and replaced with the Model 90, a new luxury automobile. Unfortunately many coachbuilt bodied Locomobiles were made into scrap metal during World War II. Today there are approximately 167 Model 48's known to exist and are considered wonderful historic examples of a by-gone era. Valuable and extremely collectable, the Locomobile Model 48 was a truly exceptional automobile. A 1923 Model 48 recently sold at auction for $176,000.
Sources: http://www.locomobilesociety.com/history.cfm http://www.hemmings.com/hcc/stories/2005/03/01/hmn_feature17.html http://www.classiccarweekly.net/2012/06/01/locomobile-model-48/ By Jessica Donaldson
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