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Locomobile 4 Cylinder Gathering Place


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This is another 1909 model 30 in the Stahls collection. No engine number provided but it makes me wonder how many Locomobiles survived compared to production records. I've read on the web that one reason Locomobiles survived was because they never wore out. They were rebodied with later custom bodies and used as trucks and taxis and upgraded. They were highly prized by certain businesses, thus even when they were totally outdated, they were saved. Also, in later years Locos were highly prized cars and the value shot up so lots of them have crossed the auction block and pictures are available on the web. I like em.

 

This one has the traditionally correct front axle.

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I would venture a guess that many more Locos exist today as speedsters in various forms because of the reasons I cited above. Very few remained in their original configuration. Also, building a speedster is much less expensive on an original chassis than rebuilding an original style body and these cars configured as speedsters are binging in big bucks.

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Al,

The tow car above is most likely a six cylinder model, correct? There appears to be an oiler on the dash. Can you speak to its use? I would expect this car made it through the years and is somewhere today. I wish we could trace its wherabouts.

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The tow car above looks really long, do you happen to know what the wheelbase would be? Also, the black car directly above has a round medalion in the center of the top tank of the radiator but most Locos don't have this medallion. Can you address this question?

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Hello Al,  If you are referring to the stripped down chain drive Locomobile from New York, in the original picture, that car will be a Model H, 4 cylinder,. 35 HP and 120" wheelbase, right hand drive .  The Model I, is 40 HP,  4 cylinder, chain drive, 124" wheelbase, right hand drive.  The Model L is 120" wheelbase, 32 HP, 4 cylinder, right hand drive and shaft driven, (first year for shaft drive was 1909).  All of these factory HP listings are just very conservative ratings, I understand due to taxation issues.

Al

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This is Joe Florida (?) in a 1908 Model I Locomobile, one of the two raced in the 1908 Fairmont race. Locomobile was called the best built American car and though I can't say yea or nay, they were well made. Notice how high in the seat the passenger sets with nothing but the driver to hold onto. I don't own a Loco so all I can do is admire and observe. I think it is interesting to note the frame is completely flat and straight. It has scrubber shocks on the front as most race cars do. The seat sets up higher than I would expect but many of the first race cars did so.

 

This is a 1908 car but look how worn the finish is on the hood. The picture was obviously taken some years after the cars production. The construction of the body (if you can call it that) is crude and unfinished. The car was built for one purpose. There is, however, shiny paint on the front left wheel. It looks to be new, which makes me think this wheel broke and what is on the car now is a replacement. The angle of the back wheel is such that it is harder to tell but it certainly does not appear to have the same shine or uniformity of color.

 

Notice the size of the gas tank pump at the feet of the passenger. It is small, comparative to pumps on other cars.

 

OK, I've done more research. It is reported that Locomobile went racing in 1904 for the 1905 Vanderbuilt cup. They finished third in that race and proceeded to build two 16 litre four cylinder cars, numbered #16 and #1 but the #1 car is otherwise stated to have a much larger motor. It is also stated that in the 1906 Vanderbuilt race, the cars performed well but the tires did not. The cars ran non-demountable type rims, as you see on the car above. These are clincher style rims and are notoriously hard to change tires on. For the 1908 race, the wheels were changed to detachable, demountable type. This type wheel has a demountable rim. Instead of changing tires, 5 or 6 bolts car be removed and the rim and tire come off together.

 

In the 1908 race the number 16 car beat the #1 car and became famous. The number 1 car came in second and plowed into the crowd that gathered on the track, running into a car that had been pulled onto the track, and crashed. This is the last we hear of the #1 car. Now, my supposition was the car above is #1. I have since changed my mind. It has a striking resemblance to #1 (see my posting of pictures later in this thread). This picture shows a race car with non-demountable wheels.

 

Correction. I have learned the two 1908 Fairmont cars are model 40 cars. I have found a picture of a model 40 motor and it has four exhaust ports that match up to the four exhaust ports exiting the hood of this car. That means this is not old 16's sister car. One question answered. The thing that confused me about this car was the four exhaust pipes. Old 16 and presumably the sister car had two exhaust ports.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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This may be the same car in its modern day configuration. It is advertised as Chassis #9 and a model I. There are similarities in its construction but the seat is lowered as well as the gas tank but the body rests on the same flat frame. It has the same extension for the controls from the dash location. This is the problem I have with restoring historically significant cars. The restoration washes away too much history.

 

If this car is compared to old 16 with its rich patina of originality, this car could easily be a recreation of an original. There are times when cars should be restored and must be restored but I much prefer an unrestored car for its authenticity to one that is restored. You may have a different opinion.

 

If I had to guess I would say the gas tank on this car is a 30 gallon drum; notice the location of the filler neck. In the original picture the tank is as wide as the frame and the end of the tank rounds out significantly while the tank above fits inside the frame rails and the end that is visible looks to be flat. These are just my observations and are not meant to be criticisms of the car. A Loco is a Loco regardless of what else it is!

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The Joe Florida Locomobile, at the earliest, is a 1908 Locomobile, the first year of the Model I.  The sister car to the Old 16 Locomobile is truly a race car with similarities to passenger cars but with a special built HUGE CID engine and built in 1906.  The remains of the Number 16 racer sister car are reported to still exist.  Go to the main Locomobile chat threads and go to the bottom to read about a Model L Toy Tonneau and the Old 16 and the sister car remains.  I do not think the Joe Florida car had any modification from stock to lower the steering wheel or the seat.   That car was likely based on a Toy Tonneau type, as the steering gear is already lower than a touring car.  The newer Model I Locomobile  gray race car has had the steering column set back and lowered  and probably the pedals pushed back also.  Maybe someone here will comment.  This newer race car is similar to the Old 16 but this one is surely more correct a 1908-9-10 Locomobile Model I.  Anyone knowing the Model I race car shown above,. please comment.  You Tube has several clips of this car running....what fun.

Al

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The Locomobile Model L shown above as (Currently not on Display) I think originated on the west coast.  I am sure this car has a shortened chassis from the stock 120" wheelbase.  Can anyone here provide more information on this car?  I would like to see a good front shot and also a good rear shot.  Yes, it would be good to see a couple of pictures of the engine.  Anyone with information please help us out.

Al

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  Here is a picture of old 16s sister car for reference as referred to by Al above. According to the article published by Alex Dragone, some parts of the car were in Peter Helck's collection at one time and certainly exist today. The hood on this car is super long to house a specially built 4 cylinder motor. Is the motor part of the remains that still exist? If it did, somebody would have surely begun a restoration by now. I hope someone will tell us more.
 
In doing some more research, it appears this car ran into a roadster that was pulled onto the course at the end of the 1908 race. After old 16 won the race, the spectators rushed the track and some people pulled their cars out on the track. Two girls in a roadster were among those who pulled cars out on the track, perhaps in an effort to get out before the crowd clogged up the streets. The racers who were still finishing the race plowed into the crowd. #1 was the car behind old 16. The remains spoken of in Alex Dragone's article are evidently the wrecked car.
 
**** Update ****     ( From the Vanderbilt Cup Races webpage)
 
"When the Locomobile was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in 1995, automobile collector and broker Manny Dragone purchased Old 16 as part of a three-way transaction with Jerry Helck. As reported by Leigh, Dragone also aquired a large number of disassembled parts which he believes "were the remaining parts of Locomobile Number 1." He said "We had 60% of a complete car, including 90% of the original engine". For several years now, an automobile is being built around these parts at Dragone's restoration shop."
 
There is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there concerning Locomobile race history. It is reported that the motor from the sister car of old 16 was later installed in a boat and lost to history and the chassis scraped but that at the original manufacture of the two cars multiple extra parts were manufactured. It is also reported that some of these extra parts were given to Peter Helck and later sold to Dragone.
 
For the 1906 American Elimination Trial and Vanderbilt Cup Race, Locomobile built two identical cars, one to race and the other as a backup, "with enough parts to assemble two more".
 
 
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Hello Al,

I would suggest that someone installed a nice round reproduction Locomobile script hubcap center on the radiator front.  Many makes of this era did that exact thing for identity purposes.  For some reason, Locomobile never played that game, maybe they didn't think they needed to.  (I personally like the script medallions).  Further thought on the Joe Florida car.  If it was in fact built in 1906, it certainly has different design features than the original Old 16 race car.  Other thoughts are certainly welcome.

Al

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I've done some more research and found several more cars with the different front axles, both like the Don Boulton car and the gentle sweep axle of the other car. This would seem to indicate three different suppliers of front axles on the brass era Locos. It certainly appears no one supplier could supply enough axles. I understand Timken supplied the deep sweep axle and since this axle is peculiar to Loco, it is possible the other axles are Timken but Timken couldn't keep up with the demand for the deep sweep axle. this is all speculation on my part but it would be interesting to know why Locomobile used different style axles.

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This 1907 Locomobile model E, reported to be the only remaining model E, was in Henry Austin Clark's collection. The original body was removed in 1914 and this truck body installed. The car was then used up until 1927 as a utility vehicle. It was sold to Donze Restoration in Georgia who subsequently sold it to Richard Paine. He restored the chassis and had a roadster body built for it. The car sold at RM auctions in 2012 for $75,000 to an unknown buyer.

 

It appears the same car is listed in the Seal Cove Museum in Maine as a 1908 model L. A picture of it in its current roadster configuration can be seen on their website.

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Hello Al,  Does The seal Cove Museum have any listed information as to the model of this roadster?  It must be a Model "H" by appearance?  The Model "E" is a smaller car than what this one appears in the picture.

Al

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This one is labeled "Vanderbilt Cup Race" on the web but what a car! Clean lines, no top, no windshield, just a great car. This guy is out in the middle of winter for a drive with a heavy overcoat and gloves and boiler. He's not planning on going fast, that boiler won't be on his head long. No chains on those are very white tires! Nice, nice car.

 

Oh, and what about that Vanderbilt Cup hood ornament! No diamond tuck interior for this baby!

 

Those appear to be all smooth tires. How does that car get any traction in snow?

 

 

 

 

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The car in the Seal Cove Museum is labeled a 1908 model L but it is also purported to be the restored utility truck above. I posted this small picture in September of 2019 but have since learned the car pictured is not a Locomobile. I forget the make of car but it is pictured in front of the dealership. I believe the picture came from the old motor website.

 

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Wonder what this one is? That hood has to be 6' long! It closely resembles the Seal cove car above only without the mother in law seat but again this is a low, sleek, body style.

 

I went back and captured Don Boulton's car to repost here as a comparison. Nice before and after shot.

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If you want a good read with some nice period pictures, look up in the AACA "What is this" section and you will see "What car is this".  The author has put together very interesting bits of information relevant to early Locomobile racing effort.  Those efforts were  sprinkled with a bit of anxiety and desire for Locomobile to be on top....which they did and were.  To this day the mention of Locomobile  does reflect a certain successful aura.  This is a very nice well thought out write-up.  Hopefully more facts will surface.

Al

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This car was commissioned by H. B. Beale in June of 04 to be built by Locomobile. It is a stock small car chassis with a stock large car motor installed in it. It is not known when the car was actually made but the commissioning paper work still exists so the date of commissioning is a known fact. It was called the "Pup." It was displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show. Only one was made.

 

That would be H.B. behind the wheel. H.B.'s dad owned a company that made steam locomotive tubes. It was a lucrative business until sometime in the 20's when regulations concerning steel tubes changed.

 

Notice the tarp hung underneath the car. Most cars of this period had belly pans but this one doesn't so I suspect the tarp is in lieu of the belly pan. The belly pan served several different purposes but this car being a one-off production, it's possible it just didn't receive one. Can anybody identify what the box on the side of the frame was for? Battery perhaps? Are those self generating Phare headlamps?

 

 

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Al, the car above is reported to be a production factory race car, similar to the Simplex Speedcar shown below, which was a factory built car sold to the general public. Several companies made similar cars as production models in the years between 05 and 15. The "Pup" is reported to have been Loco's offering. Could it be a model 40 motor in an E or I frame? It is interesting, the car has non-demountable wheels on it, supposedly after Locomobile had so much trouble with this type wheel in the 06 Vanderbilt Cup Race. You would think they would have changed to the detachable type wheel.

 

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Al,  You have indeed come up with some interesting information regarding the Locomobile "Pup".  I have never heard of that term and how it relates to Locomobile marketing.  If you have any additional information as to years offered, production numbers, and what Models were involved with this type, please post.

Al

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Hello Al,

Your point is well taken.  The last known attempt, was done by the group that started the Locomobile Society.  That Locomobile list is now obsolete and should have a renewed group of enthusiasts overhaul that Society and put some formality to it.  I would even suggest an actual affiliation with like minded Locomobilists.  I would suggest a "Specialist" for Steam, a "Specialist" for the early cars up to the release of the  6 cylinder cars, a "Specialist" for the 6 cylinder cars, a "Specialist" for the Durant designed cars and lastly a "Specialist" for the commercial cars and RIker.  I know that the Durant club has a "spot" for the later Locomobiles but it does not reach to well to the early Locomobile owners and can't.  Any thoughts about developing an updated Roster?

Al

PS: My term of "Specialist" would likely mean a team or committee

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How many of the Loco Society members are still living? Did the Loco society collect serial numbers or motor numbers with their records? What kind of numbering system did Loco have if any? All the the website shows is a few car pictures with no details whatsoever. Cars change hands and are repainted, even rebodied. If a serious effort were made to document all remaining cars, some information to document the car would need to be made. In the recent past the Peter Helck collection of memorabilia has become somewhat published. It is a treasure trove of new information. It would be really great if all the remaining information could be compiled in one location for research purposes. Is it likely a team of specialist could be gathered to assist/answer questions about each segment of manufacture, doubtful, but many other lesser makes know of every car that has seen the light of day but this, perhaps the most prestigious American car company, still exist in unanimity. Something should be done.

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Al,

I agree, it would be good for preservation of the history of as many cars as could be located.  That history is one aspect of a Locomobile Society.  Another aspect would be compiling information and literature that can be used by those who are still in the restoration process or for future restorations as our beloved Locomobile treasures weather and age.  Lastly, no matter how exclusive a particular marque may be, there is strength in numbers, from an ownership perspective.  All that would need to happen is a few more dedicated souls stand up and help to make a register happen and develop a computer system to keep track of histories and numbers.  If anyone else is reading these posts and has an interest in the  Locomobile marque, regardless of the vintage or model, post here on this group of Locomobile forum chat rooms.  Speak your thoughts.

Al

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I thought I would post this picture of a 1914 model 48 here. You Locomobile owners will realize immediately this is not a 4 cylinder model as the model 48 is the 6 cylinder car. Once again I have hijacked Al's thread but I don't believe there is a model 48 thread. As we consider a Locomobile Registry, perhaps we should consider building on what we have started here. I have already posted two cars with motor numbers and what I have learned is Locomobile only provided motor numbers. Anybody who so desires could post a picture of their car and provide the particulars as they know them to be. This would provide the beginning of a registry and the information could be transferred to a website in the future. Of course, in the end, this is Al's thread.

 

Personally, I love these pictures of the converted locomobiles. It illustrates how cars in general and Locomobiles specifically found other uses later in life. Here we have a car that was converted to a truck though that seat looks like the car was converted to a speedster before the truck bed was added. Is there a boat sticking out of the back of that bed? Why I do believe these guys have been fishing.

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Hello Al.

Thanks for the posting of this early 48.  Yes, I did build a place for all 6 cylinders both 48 and 38 to chat.  Look under the main heading of "Locomobile".  I have a Locomobile Steam, Locomobile 4 cylinder, Locomobile 38 and 48, and Locomobile - Riker trucks gathering places.  I also have parts for sale and parts wanted chat forums.  It is my hope that from these common chat areas that Locomobile owners can unit, in some form, for our common good and preservation of history, literature and of course our Locomobile automobiles.  This is not an attempt to take away from the last of the Locomobiles that came about as a result of the "Billy Durant" era and the Durant Club,, but to give a home and gathering place for the  the early Locomobiles.

Al

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