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The 20th Century Fox Locomobile Sedan


Ittenbacher Frank
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With this post I would like to introduce my 1921 Locomobile Sedan, hoping that someone will be able to contribute bits and pieces to its history.

In 2019 I found the car in a barn, located in a quarry in a small town in the south of Germany, close to Austria. The circumstances and actions until the car was in my garage are worth telling another time.

Several months later I got access to the only document which gives one clear hint to this Loco's provenance: The previous owner Otto Bussinger kept the original auction catalogue in his large archive, which he got when he bought the car at the Movie World Auction in Buena Park, California, in May 1974. It was advertised as "A good original low mileage car from 20th Century Fox, runs well". At that time he had an apartment in Santa Monica, just 40 miles from the auction's location. In Feb. 1975 he registered the Locomobile under his name (495 MIG), later he shipped it to Germany and kept it in his large collection. I like to share some of the catalogs pages and photos taken by Otto Bussinger:

0 Movie world auction page 19 nur Loco.jpg

1 1974 Movie world auction page 1k (2).jpg

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11 Movie world auction page 19 k (2).jpg

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13 Movie world auction page 29 k (2).jpg

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15 Movie world auction page 30 k (2).jpg

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19 Movie world auction page 32 k (2).jpg

20 Movie world auction page 32 k (3).jpg

22 1974 title-u-bild-web (2).jpg

Edited by Ittenbacher Frank
wrong year (see edit history)
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Does anyone know (or has known) these people envolved in the activities in 1974? Like Jim Brucker, Don Britt, Don Westerdale or Al Newman? It is mentioned that the Brucker family sold some cars of their private collection, which had been used for filming. Does anybody know more about this? I love to find a link to this Locomobile 48 sedan.

With the help of google, I found something about the Brucker collection, more than 1000 cars. They were displayed in the Movie World Museum in Buena Park, California, from 1970-1979.

Here is the link to a related newspaper, 19 years after the Locomobile had been sold already:

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-09-25-me-38795-story.html

 

0 movieworld 2 (2).jpg

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Frank, I am interested in the outcome of your research also.  As a young man I remember these auctions but were way to broke to even dream about bidding let alone the transportation after a winning bid.  I used to watch every month ion the old HMN for the auctions of parts, project cars and running cars that came out of Harrah's collection.  Several of the projects I dreamed about I still have been able to track where they are at currently and the mechanical status.  I plan to check in with a contact at the Bridgeport Public Library and see what I can learn about the later series Locomobile sales information.

Al

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On 11/11/2021 at 5:48 PM, alsfarms said:

Frank, I am interested in the outcome of your research also.  As a young man I remember these auctions but were way to broke to even dream about bidding let alone the transportation after a winning bid.  I used to watch every month ion the old HMN for the auctions of parts, project cars and running cars that came out of Harrah's collection.  Several of the projects I dreamed about I still have been able to track where they are at currently and the mechanical status.  I plan to check in with a contact at the Bridgeport Public Library and see what I can learn about the later series Locomobile sales information.

Al

Before visiting the Bridgeport Public Library, pls. let's prepare a battle plan. I am in contact with more Loco owners who want to find the information related to their cars. Thanks and regards, Frank

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5 minutes ago, alsancle said:

Don't own a Loco but will follow this thread with interest.

 

 

Would you like to? Just send me a check.

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Have any of you readers seen my Loco Sedan in a movie made before 1974? I wish I could get a starting point for further research into that period of time.

Later, after the Locomobile had come to Germany, it took part in at least two movies. One is the film "Die Manns" which I mentioned already in the "Locomobile 48-38 gathering place". The Loco was rented by the "Bavaria film GmbH" in 2000. I found a newspaper in the previous owner's documents archive, which explains how they created the winter-scenes during summer time: They asked the local fire truck to spray foam all over the place, which looked like snow! I guess most of the paint damage was caused by this action...

2000 Bericht Schnee ist Schaum 1.JPG

2000 Bericht Schnee ist Schaum 3b.JPG

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The Movie World catalog you posted had the Murphy bodied SSK pictured.

In 1980 I was involved with prewar supercharged Mercedes. We had heard that the car was for sale. Jack Passey owned it and was asking 300k.for it.

 I googled Old Cars and found their 50th anniversary online review for all 50 years. Fun to scroll through. The 1976 review stated that the SSK sold for a record price of 150k. Jack Passey had great eyes and knew how make money at it.85C8D5B5-0FA4-4638-8733-71A708EB23AD.jpeg.14c05a268c101d2b9b0612c3bde76d8c.jpeg645BFB84-79E5-45A1-8204-7A6C05A3A4F5.jpeg.74e154e000c3c9d8f106da7d1c718cc8.jpeg

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Today I would like to show some details of this 1921 Locomobile speedometer drive system, which I found quite astonishing. When I saw the car for the first time in 2019, I found the big steel gear on the wheel and the small bakelite pinion on the swiveling gear drive well in place, the speedo cable with the old leather casing was attached, the Stewart-Warner Speedo in the dash showing 23280 mls on the counter. Everything was dirty and dusty, but seemingly in good original condition.

I found a paper in the car's document file which showed a mileage of 21975 in 1989.

0 DSCN1321.JPG

Edited by Ittenbacher Frank (see edit history)
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After I had the engine in working condition and tried the car for the first time, I noticed that the speedometer didn't show any speed or mileage. At that time I felt I had more important problems to deal with than the speedometer. I simply started recording every trip's distance with the help of google maps during the time without the mileage counter. But when the car became ready for some longer trips, I wanted to repair the speedometer:

I removed the cable on the wheel side. The swiveling gear was ok. I pulled on the inner part of the cable and was shocked to find a chain!

0 a Welle in Topf.JPG

0 2020-6-7 Teil 3 plus 2 km in Euskirchen herum.jpg

Edited by Ittenbacher Frank (see edit history)
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Actually there were 2 halves of chain and several broken pieces which I was able to pull and push out from the outer flexible tube. The outer tube has a length of 2080mm. This chain consists of more than 500 single parts: two halves (they look like shells), each with two little bolts, riveted together, the links in between are stamped parts with oval holes for axial movement. It's length can vary between 1950 and 2150mm.

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0 einzelteile groß.JPG

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Two links were bent and broken. I repaired them, but this still didn't solve the problem: The chain turned, but the speedo didn't. Then I removed the dash unit and inspected the internals. I made one special tool for opening the threaded cover of the speed indicator drum housing. Amazing how well this is made! Like a miniature machine tool. Everything worked well, nothing worn or broken. A bit of cleaning and lubricating was enough. Finally I found that the chain's end had not properly engaged into the speedo shaft.

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After assembly I jacked up the front axle and tried the function manually while operating the steering wheel. This showed one weakness, which I believe was the reason for the chain failure: The outer tube's first part of the outer tube (above the axle's king pin) had been over-bent in a way that the spring-tension was lost (and the leather cover was broken, too), and in certain steering positions it kinked, which let the chain run regularly and jam. A broken leather strap for holding the outer tube to the fender bracket added to that situation. I repaired that, reinforced the weak part a bit, and now it works smoothly.

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Edited by Ittenbacher Frank (see edit history)
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The road test showed: The mileage counter works very precisely, less than 1% difference

compared to google maps.

The speed indicator works fine, too, but I have not yet figured out how to set the dial's resting position to the 0-mark. There is a mechanical stop at 8 mph which I believe cannot be adjusted. Presently it shows 8 mph from standstill to a fast walking speed, at road speeds it works well.

I am wondering: Is anyone else using such a chain as a speedo drive?

1 IMG_2654 (halb).JPG

Edited by Ittenbacher Frank (see edit history)
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The above is what I love about early cars......they are very mechanical, and almost easy to fix if you take your time and do it right. Enjoy the photos and story. Thanks!

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Obviously a different car (or maybe not?) has been built for Mr. Henry Carleton Manchester of Scranton. It was shown in the Locomobile advertising as well as in their 1918 brochure about Locomobile exchange cars. Please not that this body has only one door on the right side?

1918 ca Sedan.jpg

1918 exchange cars Seite 16 nur Sedan.jpg

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In the 1920's Book of the Locomobile we find the photo of the Sedan which was shown in this forum before. Please note: The front fenders are much longer than on the previous Sedans, they connect to the running boards approximately where the first storage compartment door is located. This body has four doors, all handels in front and hinges at the rear. This seems to be the year when Locomobile introduced their thin front bumpers.

 

1920 Sedan The book of the Locomobile 1920 page 22 (2).jpg

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Where was this photo taken? It shows a Sedan with Westinghouse air suspension, a really expensive option.

The Westinghouse Air Suspension system creats a soft cushion between the road springs and the chassis. Four units are installed on all four corners of the car. They consist of sliding cylinders, guide bushings, leather seals, oil lubrication, many valves, pressure- and vacuum chamber. It works automatically after you initially fill the air into the valve which is located on top of each cylinders. By doing so, the air cushion lifts the car up by a certain amount.

By the way, in 1921 MOTOR-LIFE explained the unique headlamps used on Locomobiles.

1921 b9d4_1.jpg

Locomobile-design-lamps 1921 in MOTOR-LIFE.jpg

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Westinghouse 33 loco.jpg

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Thank you so much Terry. I knew I had seen that place in a picture before, figured it had to be in or near Bridgeport because of the location of the Locomobile factory.  I love architecture as much as I love old cars , come from a family heritage of builders, and taught architecture appreciation courses ( had kids even build scale model houses) . I also authored and illustrated the Guidelines for the Architectural committee and village law regarding building alterations for the village in which I reside decades ago.

Walt

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11 hours ago, Walt G said:

Thank you so much Terry. I knew I had seen that place in a picture before, figured it had to be in or near Bridgeport because of the location of the Locomobile factory.  I love architecture as much as I love old cars , come from a family heritage of builders, and taught architecture appreciation courses ( had kids even build scale model houses) . I also authored and illustrated the Guidelines for the Architectural committee and village law regarding building alterations for the village in which I reside decades ago.

Walt

Architectural appreciation is something we as a society really need. My wife and I play a a game we call "Burn or No Burn" as we ride around. Usually the "burn list" is filled with once fine buildings destroyed by "improvements". I remember well the numerous times potential clients would ask me to design a house for them. Invariable I would get all excited thinking of the amazing possibilities ... then, come the initial meeting they would drop the bomb telling me they purchased plans on-line and just need a few modifications. Also invariably those plans they bought were for a mundane, boring, box... .sigh.........

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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