1923 Locomobile Model 48 Series VIII Sportif (Chassis no. 18345)

ex Shultz - 1923 Locomobile Model 48 Sportif
The 1923 Locomobile as seen at Hershey in 2010
While at Amelia Island this year, I had the great pleasure of visiting with David Schultz (current President of the CCCA and a judge at Amelia Island). David was very interested to see his former 1923 Locomobile Model 48 Series VIII Sportif go over the block (RM Auction's Amelia Island sale). This car (Chassis no. 18345) sold for $176,000 (lot 111). I think David would have liked to have bought it back and for good reason; it's a lovely, largely original, low mileage car.

The iconic model 48 was introduced by Locomobile in 1911. Locomobile didn't build its own bodies - instead one could buy the chassis and have a custom body built by the coachworks of your choice, or you could have a standard body (catalog offering) built at the direction of Locomobile by one of two local firms (there in Bridgeport, CT - home of the Locomobile company). It's said that Frank deCausse, Locomobile's designer of the period, penned the first dual-cowl phaeton (in 1916, on the model 48 chassis) for Mr. Wanamaker - the Philadelphia department store magnet. I don't know if this is true, regardless, it is Mr. deCausse that is credited with designing the beautiful Sportif body that is seen in 1917. The model 48 and the Sportif body are little changed from it's introduction to the demise of the company in 1929.

The body for this car is said to have been built by the Bridgeport Body Co. was one of the two local manufacturers suppling bodies to Locomobile at the time. According to coachbuilt.com, after Locomobile’s 1921 bankruptcy, the Bridgeport Body Company's two owners, courted a number of regional chassis manufacturers as well as body designers looking for work. Soon  after, LeBaron entered into a major contract with Durant’s reorganized Locomobile, and a merger with the body builder seemed to make sense. Dietrich and Roberts (partners in LeBaron) concluded the merger in January of 1924. The new firm was called LeBaron, Inc.

According to the auction catalog, this car was originally ordered by Albert M. Barnes, a partner in the New York investment firm of Dillon, Read, & Company. By 1923, model 48 was a bit dated and few cars seem to have been produced in these later years (the production numbers from the later years seem a bit sketchy and I estimate that Locomobile built fewer than 500 cars in 1923 - all models). This car is said to have cost $9,900 and stayed with its original owner for the next 29 years. It was purchased from the Barnes estate at Spruce Hill Farm in Mendham, New Jersey by Tom Wiss. David Schultz purchased the car in 1989 and treasured it for 15 years. The car had under 25,000 actual miles at the time of it's most recent sale.

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