The first car to win the Vanderbilt Cup race in Long Island was the 1907 Locomobile 'Old Sixteen'. The winning car has survived even to this day. The victory cemented the cars built by the Locomobile Company as some of the finest cars of the period, made to uncompromising standards of quality and without concern for cost.
The company originally produced steam cars to the Stanley brothers' design. Their small carriages were the best selling American automobile of the time. After hiring designer Andrew Riker, and realizing that steam power was not a sustainable business, the company introduced a new line of gasoline automobiles. A new factory was established in Bridgeport, Connecticut and in 1905, the new line of gasoline powered cars were introduced.
The gas powered Locomobiles were influenced by European manufacturers, featuring the Panhard system of the engine up front, transmission in the middle, and the drive at the rear wheels. Under the bonnets was a new T-head four-cylinder motor. The T-head design gave the engine excellent flow characteristics and allowed for large valves. There rear wheels were driven by dual chains.
In 1908, Locomobile introduced the Model 30. These models continued the theme of quality and design innovation found on the company's larger models, but in an smaller - and lighter - size. The Model 30s were powered by a 286 cubic-inch T-head engine that had a 4.5-inch bore and stroke, and delivered nearly 40 horsepower. The four-cylinder engine and its square dimensions made it very smooth, and free revving. The power was sent to the rear wheels via a shaft drive rear end.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010