Mondo Monday - Hiding In Plain Sight - Part 5 - Locomobile

Staying Until the End of the Show Pays Off!
With so many cars at the show, every nook and cranny, side lot, and parking space (real or imagined) was filled. It wasn't until I was headed out that I spied these Brass Era cars parked in remote sections of the show. When I did, I tried to imagine how I missed a 20' long car that stood almost 8' tall.

This is a very rare vehicle, a 1916 Locomobile, known as "The Best Built Car in America" was produced at the factory in Bridgeport Connecticut. According to the Locomobile Society records, 599 were made that year, all by special order. All Locomobiles produced before 1914 were right-hand drive. Locomobile’s primary competition were the 3 “P’s” - Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, and Packard. All were prominent but Locomobile was the most expensive
This six-cylinder Model 48 weighs about 6,500 lbs, was built of magnesium bronze, aluminum and steel, cost $5,100 (111,740.50 adjusted for inflation) and was owned by the who’s who of upper East Coast aristocracy.
The "faucet" in the lower RH part of the picture is a fuel shut-off valve
The 525 CI 6 cylinder T-head engine had a cast bronze block, 2 distributors, 2 spark plugs per cylinder, and was rated by the ALA at 48 HP. It produces about 82 HP by today's standards.
The body and the chassis are all aluminum, insuring they would not rust.The construction of the chassis resembles a bridge.

The manual 4 speed transmission was not synchronized. The front seat is notched for the shifter handle.
Gauges and controls are primer (depressing the primer shot some fuel into the intake manifold, making it easier to start a cold engine) fuel tank pressure, magneto control, an 8 day Waltham wind-up clock, voltmeter, oil pressure, odometer w/trip odometer, speedometer, and an ignition key with a day/night setting. (L to R/ top and bottom)
 

Notice the far left gauge labeled GAS. It reads approximately 1.5 lbs of air pressure in the tank, not the fuel level.
 A bank of push buttons controls the starter and lights.
Serial Number 10203, the 203rd M6 produced that year


Coolant lines can be seen above the wooden spark plug wire insulator and below the exhaust manifold.
The factory installed oil can is still in place. It was used to hand oil motor driven accessories like the magneto and generator without sealed bearings. The internally driven engine oil pump supplied a constant stream of oil at low pressure to the crankshaft mains. Everything else was splash oiled.

I was unable to figure out what the toothed ring was for, as nothing was attached to it, but I am guessing it was a way to drive the odometer. There are no front brakes.

In an attempt to provide some perspective of size, the temperature gauge on the radiator filler was chin height.


A camshaft driven compressor can be seen between the cylinders and just above the shut-off valve handle
Chris confirmed my observations of a mechanically driven brass horn running off of the distributor housing
The running board lamps are equipped with Tiffany glass.

One lever is used to manually control the ignition timing, the other is a hand operated throttle control. Operating the levers produced a series of gentle clicks, very much like the sound of winding a watch.

A rotating collar just below the steering wheel operated the hand choke. The small brass knob was used to lock the choke in place until the engine had reached operating temperature.
My conversation with Chris confirmed the fuel tank does have a pneumatic connection. A small camshaft driven air compressor pressurized the fuel tank to about 2 lbs to 3 lbs PSI, pushing fuel to the carburetors. The sight glass was used to estimate the fuel level without the need to depressurize the tank or start the car to read the gauge. 
37" wheels would shame the most devout set of "Dubs"
The first time I saw this car at the Caffeine and Octane show, Chris had left to retrieve a replacement for the newly installed battery. Standing guard over the car were his wife, daughter, and the owners of  these 2 treasurers tucked away in another lot.
If you would enjoy learning more about the history of the Locomobile, visit The Locomobile Society website.

Update!
We had the opportunity to meet up with the owner this past weekend at the Po Boys Cruise In, so we are updating this article. The owner of this magnificent Touring Car is Chris Padgett of Jasper, GA.

11/13/12