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That 1924/1925 Era....Duesenberg A and the Locomobile 48......


John Bloom
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Guys, I frequent the Locomobile site on this forum and it has gotten me to reading up more about the model 48.  Lots of data and accolades to be impressed with.  I wondered about that era of 1924/1925 how the Duesenberg Model A (before EL Cord was involved) compared to the Locomobile 48 of the same years.   I know one obvious difference was an "Eight vs Six"....but what do those of you with some exposure to these two cars think about the strengths and weaknesses, esthetics, engineering and Coach built offerings of these two great cars.....Were they comparable or am I way misguided???

 

 

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Arguably, the Duesenberg Model A is the least collectible, being far overshadowed by the 1930's Model J.  Locomobile didn't survive long enough to produce anything that was Art Deco in the streamlining era, which would make the 48 more collectible.

 

A Duesenberg Model A in the ACD Museum here:  https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/stove-huggers-the-non-studebaker-forum/57162-orphan-of-the-day-10-29-1926-duesenberg-model-a

 

Craig

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John Bloom
"Guys, I frequent the Locomobile site on this forum and it has gotten me to reading up more about the model 48.  Lots of data and accolades to be impressed with.  I wondered about that era of 1924/1925 how the Duesenberg Model A (before EL Cord was involved) compared to the Locomobile 48 of the same years.   I know one obvious difference was an "Eight vs Six"....but what do those of you with some exposure to these two cars think about the strengths and weaknesses, esthetics, engineering and Coach built offerings of these two great cars.....Were they comparable or am I way misguided???"
 


John:

 

Without any personal driver's seat time in either make, I'd opine its an 'apples-to-oranges" comparison.   Just consider the specifications:
Locomobile 48: Six cylinder, 524.8 ci, T-head, 95 hp @ 2200 rpm, 142" wb, 5330 lbs, $7,400+
Duesenberg A: straight eight, 259.6 ci, OHC, 90 hp @ 3600 rpm, 134" wb, 3700 lbs, $6,650+ 


The engineering approach for each was very different.  Although both were long stroke, each took its own approach to engine breathing and volumetric efficiency.   The Locomobile 48 engineering might be considered by the mid-1920's to be the perfected 1911 car versus the Duesenberg A which was a progressive harbinger of the future.  Both makes offered an extensive selection of custom and semi-custom body styles by quality coachbuilders so that was a wash.


The concurrent McFarlan Twin-Valve Six and Pierce-Arrow Model 33 were the cars most directly comparable with the Locomobile 48:
McFarlan Twin-Valve Six: six cylinder, 572.5 ci, T-head, 120 hp @ 2400 rpm, 140" wb, 5000 lbs, $5,700+
Pierce-Arrow Model 33: six cylinder, 414.7 ci, T-head, 100 hp @ 2600 rpm, 138" wb, 4800 lbs, $5,250+


The Cunningham Series V would also be in this segment:
Cunningham Series V-5 & V-6: V-Type, eight cylinder, 441.7 ci, , L-Head, 90 hp @ 2400 rpm, 132/142" wb, 5000 lbs, $6,650+


In the current parlance, the Locomobile 48, McFarlan Twin-Valve Six, Pierce-Arrow 33 and possibly the Cunningham V would be cross-shopped.  The Duesenberg A considered a different type appropriate for the 'sportsman'.


Let the brickbats fly...
Steve
 

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I agree with what John has stated. Have never driven a Duesenberg Model A, but spent some time behind the wheel of a Locomobile from the early to mid 1920s era - a big sedan/limousine that basically had a cosmetic restoration done in the 1960s. Locomobile was a BIG car - well made, and lots of power, even with the enclosed coachwork. My choice would be the Locomobile ( but saying that I am in the middle of working on a design/styling /coach builders history - of the 1914- 1929 Locomobiles so am impressed with what I see in my research).

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3 hours ago, alsancle said:

John,  that towncar has your name on it.

I am at the office right now but I will have to circle back when I have a little bit more time on my hands to write what I really want. The short term version is, I would love to buy that towncar, but I think my level of experience in the hobby restoration wise/mechanically with a small production number car of this era is just not at the level of some of you guys and without a wing man or mentor with a lot of free time, I fear I would get in over my head and be hopelessly lost. I could write 10 pages more but that’s the short version.

 

it was the last thing in my head before I fell asleep last night....... 

 

I could be an enthusiastic cheerleader for you AJ if you’d pull the trigger. 
 

 

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John, it’s quite simple. Ed is very susceptible to anyone that kisses his fanny. Just be nice to him and ship in the car with the keys and plates. You’ll get it back in for five years but it will be running great. Also you’ll get to see pictures of it and lots of great places on Facebook.

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On 10/28/2021 at 7:45 AM, alsancle said:

John,  that towncar has your name on it.

 

10 hours ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Hamburgers?  Yum but Ed is now strictly a prime rib guy...

 

Looking for John's extended post...

OK Steve, you asked for it..................

 

I have been a car lover since about age 12, started getting heavy influence in the teen years from a family in the neighborhood with a son my age that I was friends with.  Lots of 50's American sedans and coupes, and some british stuff.   An education in the muscle niche, and several MG/Alfa/Porsche/ smaller sports cars as well as older corvettes.  About 6-7 years ago, I started waking up to the Classic era and reading and learning.  It has my full attention now. 

 

I really like some of the mainstream stuff (Packard, Cadillacs, etc....), but I am drawn to some of the smaller independents, in particular those US companies that built at the top of the market.  That Locomobile towncar, checks so many boxes and I'd love to take the plunge.  But, a man must know his limitations.  At this point in time, I'm the wrong guy.  I have never tackled the systems needing help that this car would require.  Sourcing parts, sourcing the right person to properly fix things that are beyond me, THE TIME to make consistent progress on it.  I have never tackled wood framed cars, completely redoing an interior, correctly sorting through an engine like that.  I see a high likelihood that I'd be in over my head.  The reality of this doesn't stop me from thinking about this car (and others like it), but for now, I am sure I'm not the guy to pull the trigger.  I may regret it someday.  There are guys on here who have played in this market for many years, learning from their mistakes and successes.  They are better equipped to take on a project like this.  

 

I would love the research and stategy/planning for a project like this.  So much to learn from others who could take this on and post their trials and tribulations as they formulate the plan and start working through the line items of it.  

 

Ed was very good about posting the tasks and challenges every few days as he worked through the Great White.  I wish I could ride along reading and learning while someone did a similar restoration/awakening of this Locomobile while actively posting updates.  

 

Who's going to step up and buy this thing?  Steve?  AJ?

 

 

 

 

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On 10/28/2021 at 9:32 AM, 58L-Y8 said:

John Bloom
"Guys, I frequent the Locomobile site on this forum and it has gotten me to reading up more about the model 48.  Lots of data and accolades to be impressed with.  I wondered about that era of 1924/1925 how the Duesenberg Model A (before EL Cord was involved) compared to the Locomobile 48 of the same years.   I know one obvious difference was an "Eight vs Six"....but what do those of you with some exposure to these two cars think about the strengths and weaknesses, esthetics, engineering and Coach built offerings of these two great cars.....Were they comparable or am I way misguided???"
 


John:

 

Without any personal driver's seat time in either make, I'd opine its an 'apples-to-oranges" comparison.   Just consider the specifications:
Locomobile 48: Six cylinder, 524.8 ci, T-head, 95 hp @ 2200 rpm, 142" wb, 5330 lbs, $7,400+
Duesenberg A: straight eight, 259.6 ci, OHC, 90 hp @ 3600 rpm, 134" wb, 3700 lbs, $6,650+ 


The engineering approach for each was very different.  Although both were long stroke, each took its own approach to engine breathing and volumetric efficiency.   The Locomobile 48 engineering might be considered by the mid-1920's to be the perfected 1911 car versus the Duesenberg A which was a progressive harbinger of the future.  Both makes offered an extensive selection of custom and semi-custom body styles by quality coachbuilders so that was a wash.


The concurrent McFarlan Twin-Valve Six and Pierce-Arrow Model 33 were the cars most directly comparable with the Locomobile 48:
McFarlan Twin-Valve Six: six cylinder, 572.5 ci, T-head, 120 hp @ 2400 rpm, 140" wb, 5000 lbs, $5,700+
Pierce-Arrow Model 33: six cylinder, 414.7 ci, T-head, 100 hp @ 2600 rpm, 138" wb, 4800 lbs, $5,250+


The Cunningham Series V would also be in this segment:
Cunningham Series V-5 & V-6: V-Type, eight cylinder, 441.7 ci, , L-Head, 90 hp @ 2400 rpm, 132/142" wb, 5000 lbs, $6,650+


In the current parlance, the Locomobile 48, McFarlan Twin-Valve Six, Pierce-Arrow 33 and possibly the Cunningham V would be cross-shopped.  The Duesenberg A considered a different type appropriate for the 'sportsman'.


Let the brickbats fly...
Steve
 

Steve, thanks for your insight and comments.  The more I read, the more I can see how the Big Pierce Arrows of that day were a direct competitor.   So let me ask relative to these "peers" of the Locomobile 48.  Are they a "value" relative to their peers?  what have you guys seen in their price point between private sales and auction prices in the last few years?  

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13 hours ago, John Bloom said:

Steve, thanks for your insight and comments.  The more I read, the more I can see how the Big Pierce Arrows of that day were a direct competitor.   So let me ask relative to these "peers" of the Locomobile 48.  Are they a "value" relative to their peers?  what have you guys seen in their price point between private sales and auction prices in the last few years?  

John:

Those who own and/or have had experience will provide the best perspective regarding relative value of each make to its peers.    I surmise the Pierce-Arrow 33 and 36, due to their higher production numbers, would the easiest to source.  Ed may know what the production of those models were during the Model 80 and 81 concurrent production years.     Both Locomobile with its Billy Durant-mass-market Junior 8, 8-66 and 8-70 and McFarlan entry-level luxury SV and Line 8 make determining how potentially available the Model 48's and the Twin Valve Six are difficult.   Locomobile also fielded the Model 90 which is an impressive and worthwhile choice to consider as well, though not on the same par as the Model 48.

One make I omitted in the prior comparison was the Steven-Duryea Model G but those are probably completely unobtainium...

Steve  

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Hello John (and others sitting on the sideline), If I were to council anyone with an interest in old collectable high end automobiles, that council would be to jump when opportunity calls.  You make several good points, but to me not in a serious way.  One analogy is; how do people with race horses know where the race tracks are.  Simple, they network.  John and others, you are networking with the right crowd right here to find the resources and expertise needed to take on a high end automobile.  I do not suggest that we need to leave all the good stuff to the perceived heavy hitters of the hobby.  We all are or can be equal heavy hitters, we just need to jump when opportunity knocks and I tell you what, opportunity is knocking at the door regarding the Locomobile town car listed elsewhere in the Locomobile forum.  The Demarest Limousine also spoken of elsewhere was my entrance into the big automobile niche (and one that I could afford).  A good share of my investment will be in sweat equity which idea I am a firm believer in.  Maybe, we as a group of hobbyists have moved to far away from sweat equity which mindset has relegated many potential high end automobile projects to parts car status.  That is a sad mindset for the future generations of this great hobby we have here.  Lastly, I had a very nice chat with the helper on the subject Locomobile of this chat and feel that a straight forward agreement can be had.  John or anyone else, with a warm big automobile thought or dream, now is your chance to dance or simply sit on the sideline.  If I was not already dancing, I know what I would be doing.......asking for the next dance with this Locomobile.

Al

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Oh yes, everyone has a (2 cent) opinion. I will share a bit of my thoughts as to comparisons spoken of above.  I don't feel the Pierce-Arrow 33 or 36 are the best comparison with the Locomobile 48 or other large vintage automobiles.  P-A had already begun a different direction for their future which was less size with modern design values and a precursor to the soon to be adopted 8's.  They, P-A, were then more able to compete with and stay at top of the mainstream evolving market that included Cadillac, Packard, Lincoln and others.  Locomobile would soon be gone, but rein on top, the marque did, with the 48 until it was gone to history.

(Ok 5 cents)

Al

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I would love to write a five page comment....but don't have the time. As a Pierce Arrow nut, I will state the Series 33 & 36 were nothing like the earlier cars....for a bunch of reasons. As I wouldn't ever compare a 33 or 36 to the earlier Pierce cars......I think that comparing the Loco 48 to a Pierce 33 or 36 isn't an apples to apples comparison.  I'll get killed here........but in my humble opinion, the 33 & 36 series cars were not as well done as the earlier cars........and their price and following certainly prove it to a certain point. The special hand made over the top Pierce Arrow ended just after WWI, and EVERYTHING that followed was a good or great car........NOT fantastic like the earlier stuff. This situation happened to all the manufacturers between 1915 and 1922............where luxury marques went from hand built products that only had craftsman's hands on them, to more run of the mill assembled cars done in much more volume. The 48 Loco lasted a LONG time, way past it's prime......but it was and is a fantastic platform, even when dated. The big cars from 1916-1923 fall in a funny hole of collecting.......Crane Simplex, Pierce, Packard Twin Six, Cunningham, Springfield Ghost, and the like were all stuck in the past, hanging on longer than they should, and 95 percent of them never made it out of the 1920's. It is a small spot of the hobby which many people don't understand, and miss out on because clubs and tours generally leave them out........that is now changing......for several reasons. 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

I would love to write a five page comment....but don't have the time. As a Pierce Arrow nut, I will state the Series 33 & 36 were nothing like the earlier cars....for a bunch of reasons. As I wouldn't ever compare a 33 or 36 to the earlier Pierce cars......I think that comparing the Loco 48 to a Pierce 33 or 36 isn't an apples to apples comparison........but in my humble opinion, the 33 & 36 series cars were not as well done as the earlier cars........and their price and following certainly prove it to a certain point. The special hand made over the top Pierce Arrow ended just after WWI, and EVERYTHING that followed was a good or great car.

Arguably, the one exception would be those five 1933 Silver Arrows. They were all basically hand-built, and showcased all the innovations Pierce Arrow had to offer up until that time.  It should be noted those were produced when PA was still owned by Studebaker, who was 'in receivership' when those cars were making the rounds at the auto shows.  Studebaker sold off PA to a group of businessmen to raise capital, and concentrate on their own brand of cars, which proved successful, and pulled them out of receivership by the end of 1935.   A few of Silver Arrow design cues were made to the 1934 model line, including the 4-piece rear window, and the streamlined frontal appearance, but none of the subsequent models ever match those 5 Silver Arrows for sheer opulence.

 

Craig

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Hello Craig,

You are certainly correct with your term of "opulence" when describing the P-A Silver Arrow.  By the mid 1930's the dynasty of the 48's both P-A and Locomobile was over.  Sadly for Locomobile, it was all over.  The mid 30's P-A set a sturdy high standard among the so called classic era automobiles, that is hard to get past including for sure the Silver Arrow.  I also own one of the P-A big hitters from 1935, it being a 1255.  The 30's we're a very different time than the 20's and each era surely has the high points to enjoy.

Al

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Al, I was going to Wright something similar to Craig. The Pierce 12 is the best twelve of the Classic era, and is a top five platform from the era.......problem is many of the factory bodies can be a bit stodgy, some....not all. Fact is a Pierce 12 is one of the few cars that will comfortably run with a Model J........ There are a small handful of one off custom Pierce 12 in existence..........and they are all stunning.

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23 hours ago, edinmass said:

"... As a Pierce Arrow nut, I will state the Series 33 & 36 were nothing like the earlier cars....for a bunch of reasons. As I wouldn't ever compare a 33 or 36 to the earlier Pierce cars......I think that comparing the Loco 48 to a Pierce 33 or 36 isn't an apples to apples comparison.  I'll get killed here........but in my humble opinion, the 33 & 36 series cars were not as well done as the earlier cars........and their price and following certainly prove it to a certain point. The special hand made over the top Pierce Arrow ended just after WWI, and EVERYTHING that followed was a good or great car........NOT fantastic like the earlier stuff. This situation happened to all the manufacturers between 1915 and 1922............where luxury marques went from hand built products that only had craftsman's hands on them, to more run of the mill assembled cars done in much more volume."

Ed:

Were the post-1919 Model 31, 32, 33 and 36 essentially a volume-production-ized version of the earlier Model 38?

Steve 

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46 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Ed:

Were the post-1919 Model 31, 32, 33 and 36 essentially a volume-production-ized version of the earlier Model 38?

Steve 

 

 

Hard to answer........part/most of it is the end of cast aluminum bodies. What has been in favor by the club members, and the general collecting hobby........ tend to leave the cars that don't have cast bodies as the "stepchildren" of the PAS club. With the regular tin and panel body cars.........the pursuit of collecting drops off ten fold. The entire Automobile industry was altered post WWI. Cars no longer were the toy's of the rich...........they became commonplace in all aspects of life. While no one would argue the series 33 or 36 were poorly done, inexpensive, or have any particular faults..........they were no longer five times better than what was being offered to the middle class...........honestly......... a 23 Buick is probably a better car for 90 percent of the people to own, drive, and service compared to a series 33. I think the best example on can give is.......try and buy a 1918 Pierce............any series. You're going to have a hard time just finding anything.........including cars that are floor sweepings. Want a series 33 or 36? How many do you want, what color and body style? Series 80 & 81 are fantastic cars, very expensive to restore and service, and sell for the same price as a Model A. There are just too many permutations to talk in general on cars from the 1917-1924 era. 

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41 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Were the post-1919 Model 31, 32, 33 and 36 essentially a volume-production-ized version of the earlier Model 38?

 

34 minutes ago, alsfarms said:

Steve, Good Question, maybe Grimy will respond.

Grimy here... 🙂  I began writing before Ed responded and will go in a different direction but I completely agree with his post.

 

The 32/33/36 cars used the same bore and stroke dimensions as the 38s (called Series 31 for 1919-20) for 414/415 cid (depends if you round up the decimal) BUT were a new single-cylinder-block casting rather than pairs of cylinder jugs and with 4 valves per cylinder.  Through 1920 (the RHD years) the 38s had 134" wheelbase and 414 cid, the 48s had 142" wb and 525 cid, and the 66s had 147" wb and 825 cid.  The new investment banker owners of PAMCC thought (correctly, IMHO) that this was too much variation for low production of about 1,000 cars per year, and so the 32/33/36 cars used the same engine and sat on a 138" wb.  These cars now had LHD, a 3-speed transmission (earlier was 4-speed) bolted directly to the engine (vs. separate/"remote") and were geared much, much deeper.  I believe the gearing changes were intended to minimize shifting the crash boxes and thus promote driving by owners rather than chauffeurs, as for a number of reasons the number of chauffeurs dropped off dramatically after World War I.  The idea was you could get into top (3rd) gear by 15 mph and stay there except for full stops.

 

As Ed pointed out, bodies were no longer cast aluminum but sheet aluminum over a wooden frame.

 

PAMCC Chief Engineer David Fergusson ("nothing but 6 cylinder engines," "keep building the 1910s platform forever") was let go.  In my own view the 32/33/36 platform was a time-buyer so that the Company did not have to (and could not) conduct expensive and extensive development and testing of new powerplants in the era of rapidly advancing technology.

 

Later in the 1920s, the Series 80 (1925-1927, production began July 1924 as a 1925 model) and its time-buying successor the Series 81 (1928) had single-valve 3.5 x 5, 289 cid engines and rode on 130" wb.  A S80 was my first Pierce almost 28 years ago and I still have it.  I absolutely marveled at the design and construction of its components and that led me to a few more....  The factory price of that 5-p sedan was $3,895 in late 1924--a substantial sum.  The Series 80 and 81 were the volume-production Pierces, and about 18,000 were built over four years.  What got in the way was PAMCC building to a specification rather than to a price:  the S80 was designed to compete with the Packard Single Six which came to market first, but the S80 was priced $650 higher than the Packard 6 in closed body styles.  To be competitive, Pierce countered by adding the S80 Coach series (flat rather than slightly-domed roof, squared quarter windows vs. radiused, one-piece windshield vs. two-piece, wood-grained steel interior window mouldings vs. mahogany, one less moulding on exterior--for $650 less than the original "DeLuxe" closed cars.  I'm certain that there wasn't anywhere near $650 of production cost difference between the DeLuxe and Coach closed models.  That means that Pierce was making scads of money on the DeLuxe S80s -- if they could sell them against the Packard 6.

 

And that brings me to how Pierce screwed the pooch on its early production number claims for the Series 80.  Serial numbers started with 801001 (I'll add a dash for better reading 80-1001), but at first huge blocks of numbers were skipped--perhaps to make Branhams and other industry watchers think more cars were sold than actually were.  here's how that went:

80-1001 thru 80-1250  (250 cars)

80-2001 thru 80-2500 (500 cars)

80-3001 thru 80-3500 (500 cars)

80-4001 thru 80-4500 (500 cars)

80-5001 thru 80-6000 (1,000 cars)

and full the range of 1000 available numbers were used after that.

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On 11/2/2021 at 11:37 AM, edinmass said:

This situation happened to all the manufacturers between 1915 and 1922............where luxury marques went from hand built products that only had craftsman's hands on them, to more run of the mill assembled cars done in much more volume

This topic drifted focus from Locomobile and comparison to Duesenberg into adding Pierce Arrow, so hope John Bloom isn't to frustrated and sort of got his question answered.

 

What Ed states about the 1915-22 era should perhaps let us all look at what had gone on at that time in history - a World War. American vehicle production was focused on the $ they could reap from making trucks and selling them over seas to Europe to let the troops navigate in quantity. Focus was not on automobile production. Packard of NY was the place to have a truck division because the trucks being produced by Packard were coming to NY on freight trains that would then be unloaded on the west side of NY City and then on to steam ships for transportation to Europe. After the end of the war, all the American service men came home with pockets full of $ they got paid for their time, but had nothing to spend it on in Europe. Horse travel for transportation was not what got back in great use as the world was used to 'motor cars" . The $ available by most was for basic transportation - thus the reason for so many "pop up" auto manufacturers , many only lasting a few years. Luxury cars were still there, still in demand , and the bodies they had were made by the same coach builders that supplied the horse drawn carriages.  The volume as Ed mentions was there to meet the demand of the buyers, most of those buyers were not of the luxury/upper class.

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1 hour ago, Walt G said:

This topic drifted focus from Locomobile and comparison to Duesenberg into adding Pierce Arrow, so hope John Bloom isn't to frustrated and sort of got his question answered.

 

What Ed states about the 1915-22 era should perhaps let us all look at what had gone on at that time in history - a World War. American vehicle production was focused on the $ they could reap from making trucks and selling them over seas to Europe to let the troops navigate in quantity. Focus was not on automobile production. Packard of NY was the place to have a truck division because the trucks being produced by Packard were coming to NY on freight trains that would then be unloaded on the west side of NY City and then on to steam ships for transportation to Europe. After the end of the war, all the American service men came home with pockets full of $ they got paid for their time, but had nothing to spend it on in Europe. Horse travel for transportation was not what got back in great use as the world was used to 'motor cars" . The $ available by most was for basic transportation - thus the reason for so many "pop up" auto manufacturers , many only lasting a few years. Luxury cars were still there, still in demand , and the bodies they had were made by the same coach builders that supplied the horse drawn carriages.  The volume as Ed mentions was there to meet the demand of the buyers, most of those buyers were not of the luxury/upper class.

Walt is right about the drift (my apologies for my part in it) and about the effects--only a few alluded to so far--of World War I.  An anecdote about the latter:

 

My great-uncle George Donnelly, after whom I was named and who raised his nieces my mother and my aunt, was a large-animal veterinarian (horses, primarily, also cattle) in Oakland, CA  volunteered for US Army service in WWI at age 41--because horses towed artillery pieces as well as wagons, and horses needed medical care.  By the time he returned, autos had displaced horses in the urban area and he had to find a new line of work (banking) if he wished to remain in the Oakland area.

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38 minutes ago, Walt G said:

This topic drifted focus from Locomobile and comparison to Duesenberg into adding Pierce Arrow, so hope John Bloom isn't to frustrated and sort of got his question answered.

 

What Ed states about the 1915-22 era should perhaps let us all look at what had gone on at that time in history - a World War. American vehicle production was focused on the $ they could reap from making trucks and selling them over seas to Europe to let the troops navigate in quantity. Focus was not on automobile production. Packard of NY was the place to have a truck division because the trucks being produced by Packard were coming to NY on freight trains that would then be unloaded on the west side of NY City and then on to steam ships for transportation to Europe. After the end of the war, all the American service men came home with pockets full of $ they got paid for their time, but had nothing to spend it on in Europe. Horse travel for transportation was not what got back in great use as the world was used to 'motor cars" . The $ available by most was for basic transportation - thus the reason for so many "pop up" auto manufacturers , many only lasting a few years. Luxury cars were still there, still in demand , and the bodies they had were made by the same coach builders that supplied the horse drawn carriages.  The volume as Ed mentions was there to meet the demand of the buyers, most of those buyers were not of the luxury/upper class.

Pierce Arrow's Truck Division cannot be easily ignored:  https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/stove-huggers-the-non-studebaker-forum/61155-orphan-of-the-day-03-03-1911-pierce-arrow

 

https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/stove-huggers-the-non-studebaker-forum/62770-orphan-of-the-day-04-29-1918-pierce-arrow-x4

 

https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/stove-huggers-the-non-studebaker-forum/53008-orphan-of-the-day-06-03-1917-pierce-arrow

 

https://www.pierce-arrow.org/pierce-arrow-history/294787-2/#:~:text=The quality of the Pierce,truck was introduced in 1911.

 

Craig

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21 hours ago, alsfarms said:

By the mid 1930's the dynasty of the 48's both P-A and Locomobile was over.  Sadly for Locomobile, it was all over.  The mid 30's P-A set a sturdy high standard among the so called classic era automobiles, that is hard to get past including for sure the Silver Arrow.  I also own one of the P-A big hitters from 1935, it being a 1255.  The 30's we're a very different time than the 20's and each era surely has the high points to enjoy.

Auto design was evolving so fast, being helped by the innovations in metallurgy, accompanied with metal forming and painting techniques and finishes in the 1930's, it became the decade when more significant annual styling changes became 'the norm' and were expected by the buying public.  In the 1920's, at least until Harley Earl established his Art & Colour studio, changes were running, and on an 'as invented' basis, and be it beginning of the year, or in the middle of the calendar year, and not held off until 'next year' in the fall.   It would have been during the 1930's when nearly all the auto dealers would cover their showroom windows until one day in the fall when the next-year's models were suddenly unleashed on the public.  (What a party and time of celebration that was!  Damn, I MISS those days!!!)  Of course, they always had, and still have their annual auto shows where auto manufacturers would always showcase concepts, prototypes, and 'cutaway', and in Pontiac's case, Plexiglas® cars in addition to their standard model lineup, but it was well beyond the scope of the local dealer. These smaller automakers, especially high-end luxury manufacturers did not have the resources to keep abreast of the (once) Big Three competition and Packard.  Packard had to save itself with the 120 series as did Rolls-Royce with the 20/25, having no lower-priced high-volume brands to offset development costs like GM, Ford, and Chrysler.  Another issue for some of these low volume cars were the diminishing amount of coachbuilders who either closed their doors, of got bought up by an automaker such as Fleetwood and LeBaron.

 

Another reason, besides the number of potential purchasers of these high end luxury vehicles being greatly diminished by the effects of the Great Depression, were those who actually COULD afford to own a luxury vehicle refused to be seen in something as ostentatious as before the Wall Street Crash.  Perhaps Hollywood movie stars were the exception, but a factory owner, or major department store owner knew he would be in trouble when their employees started to unionize, and demand more money in the 1930's, and in most instances, refused to give into their demands, and were seen either driving or being chauffeured around in an expensive automobile.  Maybe THE reason luxury cars wanted to appear less opulent by the end of the 1930's??.  

 

Craig

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Gentlemen:

 

Thanks all for your considered responses.  Although we've ranged beyond the original question of the comparability of the Locomobile 48 and the Duesenberg Model A, have established they weren't directly so,  Now, the conversation has widened to consider other contemporaries which would be comparable and their place in the market.   It has been enlightening to read your insights about how the industry and its products changed in the relative short period from 1915-1922.    Indicative of how quickly the market moved then, the Packard Twin Six sensation of 1915 was considered archaic by its 1923 demise.

 

Pierce-Arrow was responding to the changing situation by rationalizing its offering on the available resources it had i. e. the Model 38.  Changing to a mono-block engine casting was a manufacturing modernization possibly advanced because of wartime experience.  Changing to composite body construction from the cast aluminum was likely done so for the same reason: less costly per unit and for greater flexibility in anticipation of body styling advances.   Whether these rationalization did much more than allow the company to survive is moot, though that would be my conclusion. 

 

The Series 80/81 appears to be simply a rear guard action to respond the best they could to the emergent entry-level ($2,500) owner-driven, premium/luxury segment being tapped by the Packard Single Six.  Unhappily, in Pierce-Arrow's case, they didn't have the manufacturing economies in place that would allow them to profitably participate, could only reach down close with the Coach series.   Peerless challenged with their specification-similar 6-70 and 6-72 to no avail.   It took the resources of General Motors to affectively respond: the 1927 LaSalle.

 

Steve

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Walt G said:

This topic drifted focus from Locomobile and comparison to Duesenberg into adding Pierce Arrow, so hope John Bloom isn't to frustrated and sort of got his question answered.

 

 

Walt, I appreciate your comments about the direction of this thread, but let me assure you "all is good".  I have read through every entry a couple times and it is very educational to me.  I like hearing from each of you contributing from your viewpoint and experiences.  It is always dangerous to compare a model from one manufacturer to another, but this is the good stuff a car forum can create and connect people who wouldn't otherwise meet.  

 

I like Al's perspective about these cars being obtainable to guys who aren't "managing, curating, or owning" a large collection.  Good motivation and I take it to heart as I'm about a year away from being at the finish line after getting 4 kids through college.  

 

I have a much deeper appreciation for this niche of cars (big American Iron) from the late teens to early twenties, than I did a few years ago.  I need to get out and see more of them in person to further my education.  

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I have a question for 7 passenger body types who frequent this CCCA forum.  The subject of this chat is a huge Locomobile 48 Open Front Town Car.  How typical is the jump seat design that slides under the front seats, (not folding up against the back of the front seats as is more typical)?  I would like to see which style this custom body Locomobile Town Car has for jump seats, or is this automobile a five passenger body type?

Al

 

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I have never seen a slide under jump seat after WWI, only pre WWI, and they are NOT common from my experience. Here is the one on my 1917 White, Body by Rubay.

D07C8FA4-F44A-4FDB-AABF-5472875D82C5.jpeg

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