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Prior to 1903 all Locomobiles were steam-powered cars. In 1903, Locomobile in Bridgeport, Conn., came out with its first gasoline-powered cars in two- and four-cylinder models.
In 1904 there were four models available, all of which were four cylinders. By 1906, Locomobile offered just two choices, the Model E, which was rated between 15 and 20 horsepower, or the Model H, which was rated between 30 and 35 horsepower.
Locomobiles were highly sought after by America’s elite because of their extremely high quality. They were built of only the finest materials available, which oddly enough led to not many cars being preserved when they got old. All of the fine and expensive metals made them more valuable as scrap than the old cars were worth.
Locomobiles were famous for having the surface of every part coated with paint or some sort of other finish. They were also known for amazing fit and finish, speed and reliability.
The huge, heavy chassis were most often bodied by Locomobile’s custom body department.
The first Model 48s were built in 1911 and were often bodied as large roadsters or limousines. The Model 48 was built until Locomobile’s demise in 1929 with the Great Depression.
This extremely rare 1919 Model 48 was discovered in Levin’s junk yard in 1948 by Locomobile authority Alexander Stein, who rescued the amazingly intact roadster and restored it.
When he found it, it had been converted to a tow truck, which turned out to be the reason for its survival! The original 525-cubic-inch, six-cylinder 85 horsepower motor could tow any car, which made it useful.
When Stein discovered the car at Levin’s, which was in New Haven, Conn., it had only 17,000 miles and required nearly no mechanical restoration.
After the body and interior were restored, he took the car on tours around New England until his death in 1976.
At that time another Locomobile enthusiast, Len Dyer, bought the old roadster. The car was driven 2,000 miles from 2010-12. It is still in fantastic condition and valued at almost $200,000. Caution though ... if you own one, parts are not available at AutoZone!
Until next week, keep on cruising!
Car Nutz Contributors
Big Dan Pfeiffer