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Locomobile in the news


prewarnut
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   Given my recent research on Locomobile I thought a new thread about Locomobile company activities may be of interest and potentially future research. Please add to this to post ads or information about the company or its employees or associations.

 

From the Bridgeport Evening Farmer 4/19/15:

 

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   Locomobile Co. workers participated in organized baseball, bowling and other extracurricular activities against other factories and companies in the area. From The Bridgeport Evening Farmer 10/19/16:

 

 

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   Mr. Riker's Locomobile was stolen and then recovered. I wonder if this spurred him to ensure all future Locomobiles would be fully locked both with ignitiion and also with hood and accessory cover locks (as they would advertise in future years).

   From the Bridgeport Evening Farmer 10/10/11:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

    Perusing the 1926 CT vehicle registrations I came across Mr. Riker's personal cars. I am amazed that after leaving the company with Mr. Durant assuming control and developing the Flint based off some of the production lines that he owned one. For Flint owner or collectors, if that's not a late testimonial I don't know what is!   This may be his son given the suffix but at any rate...

 

 

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Edited by prewarnut (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, prewarnut said:

    Perusing the 1926 CT vehicle registrations I came across Mr. Riker's personal cars. I am amazed that after leaving the company with Mr. Durant assuming control and developing the Flint based off some of the production lines that he owned one. For Flint owner or collectors, if that's not a late testimonial I don't know what is!   This may be his son given the suffix but at any rate...

 

 

1926Riker.jpg

 

18 hours ago, prewarnut said:

    Perusing the 1926 CT vehicle registrations I came across Mr. Riker's personal cars. I am amazed that after leaving the company with Mr. Durant assuming control and developing the Flint based off some of the production lines that he owned one. For Flint owner or collectors, if that's not a late testimonial I don't know what is!   This may be his son given the suffix but at any rate...

 

 

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This is an absolutely amazing find, hard to believe. What can we learn from that?

1. The Riker family had four cars registered under their name, which is quite reasonable, considering their status, and owning several yachts and so on. In 1926, the father was 58 years old, A.L.Riker Jr. was in his 30s.

2. His son owning a no more than 2 year old Flint is understandable with the Locomobile-Durant-connection.

3. owning a similarly new Chevrolet Superior Coupe is strange, such a small (weighing not even 1/3rd of a Locomobile 48) and really cheap car, but perhaps for town use or for the servants?

4. Still using a bit outdated 1922 model 48-8 Locomobile Limousine might have been done because it was still a big, representative car, and of his own design. I wish to know how this car was equipped, does anyone know where chassis number 18103 is today?

5. Listing the 1917 Locomobile Tourer model 38 (R) is not understandable for me. What was so special about chassis numbere 12062 that is was still used when nine years old?

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   I may write a new post regarding the CT motor vehicle lists. I have seen a few wealthy (maybe not so wealthy) families that had 2 or 3 cars in 1926 and one car was a much cheaper car. In many cases it was as you mention, probably something for the "staff" to use or for menial trips.

   I noted this finding above, 1) in case someone has RIker's serial number, but mostly 2) because I had previously seen on one of the Flint group websites that the Flint was considered a "baby Locomobile." I know the styling has some similarities but the running gear is quite different and rims, suspension, placement of ther parking brake, etc are all different - so not a real clone in any sense. Given that, I think the moniker was a "slight" to Locomobile. Here, however to see the "father" of later Locomobile products have a Flint on the property was a little startling. I have seen a good number of Flints registered in CT in the 1926 book so there was a good marketing or distribution network to make it happen. I haven't quite counted but I'd be willing to bet 100-200 Flints in CT out of 74,000 registrations. That's a healthy number despite the math making it a low percentage. 

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  There was discussion on another thread about the mystery of Locomobile's coachbuilders. For the 1917 year (at least) that was advertised out in the open so no mystery. Per the write-up some of Loco's vehicles were displayed at the coachwork's stand and not under Locomobile. Also note the write-up discussing a semi-matte finish to the paint. I have not seen this and wonder if anyone has. I suppose one could pull up to a concours in primer and claim it is a "factory original type of finish" - with this ad in hand that is....

 

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deCausse came to work sometime in 1914. Davis dies early 1915. War production of trucks and cars 1916-1917. deCausse coming out was at this show in 1917. He commissioned many coach builders to produce his designs. 

Original company essentially broke  by 1919. Very short window for great examples to be built by the original company.

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3 hours ago, prewarnut said:

  There was discussion on another thread about the mystery of Locomobile's coachbuilders. For the 1917 year (at least) that was advertised out in the open so no mystery. Per the write-up some of Loco's vehicles were displayed at the coachwork's stand and not under Locomobile. Also note the write-up discussing a semi-matte finish to the paint. I have not seen this and wonder if anyone has. I suppose one could pull up to a concours in primer and claim it is a "factory original type of finish" - with this ad in hand that is....

 

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Your first post with the Russian Locomobiles requested dull gray paint maybe they started a  new fad.

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Here is a question for the automobile historians among us, I assume that during the Durant years, the only Marque to come out of Bridgeport would have been Locomobile and that would be the 48 and maybe the 90.  Does anyone here have clear information on this subject?

Al 

 

Edited by alsfarms
Clarity (see edit history)
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While I can’t recall the story, it was published somewhere that the build was repurposed quickly after production stopped. I can’t remember the details, but it was probably a CCCA publication.

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   Other than the famous Vanderbuilt Cup or other national races a local author suggested that Locomobiles were raced at Seaside Park on the horse track. I found that interesting as it was a somewhat meticuous park initially. Currently it is on the National Register of Historic places, designed in part by Fredick Law Olmstead. Yet, I can confirm they did get special permission (at least once) to do this and offered townspeople an event to watch. I suppose the legal team was off doing something else that day.😁

 

   From the Bridgeport Evening Farmer, 5/14/14:

 

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8 hours ago, alsfarms said:

That is interesting.  Do you suppose this is more of a publicity event than an actual competition race?

Al

   I would guess so. In reviewing the local paper I think Locomobile received a lot of goodwill from the city. Probably most of the other manufacturers did too. I think they maximized their publicity through the WWI period. Even when there was a threat for workers to strike (I have seen some of those clippings) the company seemed to be kept in the best of light.

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On 8/8/2022 at 8:19 PM, prewarnut said:

    Perusing the 1926 CT vehicle registrations I came across Mr. Riker's personal cars. I am amazed that after leaving the company with Mr. Durant assuming control and developing the Flint based off some of the production lines that he owned one. For Flint owner or collectors, if that's not a late testimonial I don't know what is!   This may be his son given the suffix but at any rate...

 

 

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A.L. Riker Jr. was his son. I met him at one of the Vanderbilt Cup commemorative runs on Long Island in the mid 70's. I remember his saying that his father had sold Old 16 just before he got his driver's license...He died in 1979.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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   The 1926 CT DMV registry also lists 2 experimental Locomobiles. They don't have listed serial numbers, just "experimental" noted. There is a name associated with each but I didn't bother to notate and may be one of their engineers or test drivers. I imagine A.L. junior would have had some interesting insight....

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I am assuming that Hare's would have been the authorized Locomobile dealer for New York City?  Would they have been one of the closest dealerships to Bridgeport? On the subject of Locomobiles in the News, how many authorized dealerships existed when Locomobile was in prime condition, say 1917?  I wonder if the authorized dealers, for Locomobile, were allowed to sale other makes along with Locomobile?

Al

Edited by alsfarms
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That posting is most Interesting and that does point out that Hare's did deal with three exclusive automobile makes, each a heavy hitter in their own right.  Locomobile, Mercer and Simplex had a real following back in the day and a serious and dedicated following still today.  Do you know how far this Manhattan dealership was from the Bridgeport factory?  I am guessing that it likely was not more than a couple of hours drive.

Al

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Al,

   Without the highway Bridgeport to Manhattan was at least a 2-3 hour's drive. Most probably took the train which would have been quicker. My father would tell me the Hartford to Manhattan drive was close to 6 hours which is why there were motels doted along the way. The Manhattan dealer and showroom was essential for this company. They had presence in an older building before this one and the organization with Hare's was around 1920 for two years (in their, what 4th iteration?) before finally purchased by Durant. What a reverse in fortunes in 2 years. I found a 1919 news release that they had over $2M in profits (not sure about liabilities) at the end of WWI....but so did WIlfred Leyland....

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George,

   It looks like your source (2nd line) is consistent with the local newspaper on 12/13/19...but it looks like stock was advertized at a little bit of an inflated value only one month later on 1/14/20. Not a good start to a new chapter as we know. Has the Locomobile Society reviewed the company history with economic forensic detail?

 

 

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There is mention of Mercer but not Simplex.  I wonder if Simplex was off in another direction.  It appears that Hare's was attempting to do a lower level imalgumation than what Durant would try a little later.  I don't think the increase offering of trucks ever got off the ground for this group venture either.  Many Locomobile and Rikers helped WW1, but never came back to the US.

Al

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Dan,

   The data in the posts are from an article written by A. Lawrence Riker son of A. L. Riker. All data is from his fathers files. One would think that A. L. Riker knew the forensics. Locomobile Society has been dominant for many years. Their summary of the company is based on Riker records provided by the family.

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Posted (edited)

   The rapid incorporation and management changes from late 1919 to early 1922 are chronicled in the NY and CT papers: 12/15/19, 10/4/21, 2/1/22, 7/2/22, 8/2/22. Despite knowing where this story ends it seems W.C. Durant's favorability was quite high in Bridgeport for retaining production and employment there, coming up with a business plan, and having the capital to do such - for awhile.

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Edited by prewarnut (see edit history)
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