10-11 October 2013

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Lot 135

1914 Locomobile Model 48 Speedster

  • Engine no. 13111

Sold for $291,500

48.6 ALAM hp, 524.8 cu. in. six-cylinder T-head engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and floating rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and Westinghouse shock absorbers in the front and rear, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 129.5 in.

  • Comprehensive restoration by Stone Barn
  • Best of Show–American Winner at the 2013 Greenwich Concours
  • A rakish example, properly sorted for speed

Locomobile was once one of the most respected automobile manufacturers in the United States, and it was known for their quality, speed, and engineering. It was originally a manufacturer of steam cars that were somewhat akin to Stanley Steamers, but, in 1902, the firm decided to develop a gasoline-powered automobile and hired Andrew Lawrence Riker. Riker had built his first electric car in his family’s basement at 40-years-old. By 1889, he had established the Riker Electric Vehicle Company, which became one of America’s largest manufacturers of electric automobiles and trucks.

Riker developed both a two- and four-cylinder automobile for Locomobile, with both having a strong manganese bronze block and gear case and a chassis made of heat-treated steel. Every engine was tested before being placed on a chassis, and every chassis was tested for several hundred miles. With a set production of “Four Cars a Day,” it’s not surprising that in a few years Locomobile was boasting, “The Best Built Car in America.”

In 1908, Locomobile proved it was fast as well as reliable, winning the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race. In 1911, Locomobile introduced a T-head, seven-liter, six-cylinder engine, which evolved into the Model 48. Known as the American Mercedes, the powerful and luxurious Locomobiles were fitted with custom coachbuilt bodies and delivered to such prominent buyers as William Wrigley, William Carnegie, and the Vanderbilt family.

Locomobile suffered financially in the early 1920s depression, and it was unsuccessfully merged with Mercer and Simplex before being bought by Durant in 1922, with limited production continuing until 1929.

This lovely Locomobile Model 48 Speedster was built in Australia by Jack Jeffreys, of Sydney, Australia, in the early 1960s. Built on a 1920 chassis and engine, this Speedster was fashioned to appear as a 1914 example. At that time, the 142-inch chassis was shortened to its present wheelbase of 129.5 inches, the original 27-inch wheels were replaced with 25-inch wheels, as tires were not then available in the original size, and this rakish-looking speedster body was fabricated.

In 1964, the Locomobile was featured on the cover of the May issue of Veteran & Vintage Magazine; a copy of which accompanies the car. Following Jeffreys’ ownership, the car went to the UK in the 1990s, before being acquired by the current North American-based owner in the mid-2000s. In need of some attention at this point, the owner opted to send it to Stone Barn Automobile Restoration, which performed a body-off restoration between 2007 and 2008, including a refinishing of the wood, a concours-quality repaint of the engine and chassis, and the addition of a correct rear spare tire carrier and taillight assembly, which were fabricated using correct pieces that were borrowed from another Model 48. In addition, all pieces that were previously finished in nickel were refinished in brass for the correct factory appearance.

Mechanical work included rebuilding of the clutch and sourcing and installing a number of correct parts, including a Bosch dual two-spark magneto and magneto switch, a generator, headlamps, and a spark plug wire loom. A full basic service was performed, including adjusting the brake and inspecting the engine and transmission internals, which were in proper order. More substantial work included the installation of modern engine seals and the installation of new valves and guides, as well as grinding of the valve seats. The front suspension was rebuilt, including the fabrication of new front hubs and 25-inch front wheels and rims.

With final detailing completed in the past year, the car was shown at several events, starting with Amelia Island in March, the Celebration of Automobiles at Indianapolis in May, and the Greenwich Concours in June, where it won Best of Show–American. The owner, in a display of his confidence of the mechanical performance of the Locomobile, took it around the track at Indy at a speed that approached 70 mph!

This Locomobile is a proper example that has all of the desirable speedster features, including full instrumentation, dual rear-mounted spares, a high cowl with cut-down doors, and a thick leather strap to hold down the bonnet at speed. This lovely example is accompanied by a set of restoration invoices from Stone Barn, as well as the monocle windshield and aluminum belly-pan that had been previously installed. It is ready for a great many historic events, including numerous AACA tours, and it requires only a driver with a leather helmet, gloves, and goggles to demonstrate what it was built for—speed.


Please note that the generator is not currently in the vehicle. It is being repaired and will be sent to the new owner within two weeks. Also this title is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more