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
1900 Mobile MODEL 4 5.5HP STEAM RUNABOUT
Chassis no. 3137
2-Cylinder Double-Acting Steam Engine
Sprocket Rear Axle with Chain Drive
4-Wheel Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear Band-Type Brakes
*Ex-Harry Harrison, Harold Culp car
*Comprehensively restored by Bob Mead
*Potentially Eligible for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
*Fascinating alternative power vehicle
Estimate-US$ 40,000 - 50,000
£30,000 - 37,000
THE MOBILE STEAM CAR
The tale of Mobile, Locomobile and Stanley steam cars are inextricably intertwined. As recorded in the descriptions for the preceding lots, the acquisition by John Brisben Walker of the Stanley brother's Steam car business precipitated both the Locomobile business and ultimately a second Stanley company, there was a third piece of the tale, being that of the Mobile steamcar business.
Walker having sold half of his share of the Stanley entity to A. L. Barber, proceeded to fall out with his partner almost immediately. While Barber perpetuated the Locomobile business and the Stanley brothers continued to pursue their own path, Walker's severance from Barber provided him with a piece of land in Tarrytown, New York and the right to produce the Stanley. Undeterred, but certainly behind his competition, he formed the Mobile Company of America and had Stanford White design a factory to build his own steam cars. Of course, that took time and the other two ventures had some head start on Walker.
Eventually in March 1900, a new Mobile steam car was ready for sale. What Walker lost in time, he made up for with offering a broader variety of bodywork styles and was arguably more successful in courting the upper echelons of society as clients. He could count both John Jacob Astor and Charles Schwab as Mobile owners, as well as Otis of elevator fame. Sadly, production trailed his other former business partners dramatically, and ultimately Walker stepped away from the business selling his factory in Tarrytown to Maxwell-Briscoe.
Of the 600 or so Mobiles built up to 1903, the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and other institutions record something in the order of a dozen survivors only.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
It is no surprise that for an avid steam car follower such as Bob Mead, an example of the third piece of the triumvirate should share the stable with the other brands spawned from the same tale.
The former owner of this car was Harry Harrison of Surfside, Florida, who according to copies of correspondence on file from him had purchased the car from an enthusiast in 1974, who in turn had purchased it from Harold Culp in the 1960s. Mr. Culp had been responsible for its restoration prior to 1965. Alas, after only a couple of years of ownership, Harrison's Locomobile was damaged in a fire. When Mead heard of the tragedy that had befallen the Locomobile, he elected to acquire the car and complete the arduous task of returning it to the road.
As ever, the exacting detail and quality of workmanship carried out by Bob Mead has ensured that the Locomobile is once again in exceptionally fine order, and with bodywork provided by Carl Amsley. A known entity for a considerably long time and conforming to its model specification, while this car has never been officially dated by any authority it has been accepted as a 1900 version of the model and as such would potentially be eligible for the London to Brighton Veteran car Run in the UK if officially dated, while on home turf it has been and would continue to be welcomed at events run by the Steam Automobile Club of America.
In its career with Mr. Mead, it has been shown at Bill Warner's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, and even travelled as far as San Juan, Puerto Rico to be displayed at their country's annual car show and tour in 1999.
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