To be offered at Bonhams "COLLECTORS MOTORCARS AND AUTOMOBILIA
Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum2 Oct 2017, 14:00 EDT"
From the Estate of Bob Mead SOLD £26693.00
1900 Locomobile STYLE 2 5.5HP STEAM RUNABOUT
2-Cylinder Double-Acting Steam Engine
Sprocket Rear Axle with Chain Drive
4-Wheel Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear Band-Type Brakes
*Restored by Bob Mead
*One of the most successful models of the early Steam car era
*An interesting piece of American history
Estimate-US$ 35,000 - 45,000
£26,000 - 33,000
THE LOCOMOBILE STEAM CARS
The Locomobile owes its genesis in large part to the Stanley brothers, of steamer fame. One of Locomobile's co-founders, John Brisben Walker, the publisher and editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, persuaded the Stanleys to sell him their steam car business, which then comprised a single completed car and 199 orders, for the handsome price of $250,000. Walker then sold a half-interest in the new company for an equal amount to an asphalt millionaire, A.L. Barber. According to The Standard Catalog of American Cars, Locomobile took over Stanley's production line at Watertown, Massachusetts, renaming the little steamers "Locomobile". The two partners had a falling out within weeks, and severed their business ties. Barber retained the Locomobile name and Watertown plant, and eventually acquired other factory locations. From 1900 production was transferred to Bridgeport, Connecticut and by 1902, more than 4,000 units had been manufactured.
Locomobile ceased steam car production in 1904, switching to gasoline engines. By the 1920s, Locomobiles were large, luxurious, and fast, known for their performance and quality. Unfortunately, that part of the auto industry was the first to feel the effects of the Great Depression. The company closed its doors in 1932, after its parent company, Durant Motors, failed. Many observers consider the Runabout the first mass-produced steam car, while noting that it was really a Stanley in all but name. It used a very simple motor that was directly attached to the axle sprocket. The chassis itself was basic as well; a wood frame and body with buggy-type suspension, spidery wire wheels and tiller steering.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
As much as a passion for the cars themselves, Bob Mead's strong interest was in rebuilding them. As every car hobbyist, would know this can of course be a totally philanthropic venture, but Mead as others do, felt it was his duty and responsibility to those who had built the cars to return them to the road, and in doing so satisfy his furtive mind with the minutiae of how these cars were built.
The genus of this example was the acquisition by Bob Mead of a kit of component parts from John Craig of Connecticut in the mid-1970s. A typical exacting Mead restoration ensued returning the car to the road, where parts were missing, they were carefully copied from original patterns. In all the Locomobile was ultimately completed in the mid-2000s and was made to be fully operational. Its use was relatively modest, other projects taking precedent, with the result that it remains in exceptionally clean order.
Post restoration it has been regularly shown at various events around the North East including the Klingberg Vintage Motor Car Festival and Greenwich Concours d'Elegance.
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