Rides from the Readers: 1915 Locomobile Custom 48 Roadster

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Bob Sullivan

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured car is a 1915 Locomobile Custom 48, which had been sitting in a barn for 70 years when current owner Bob Sullivan discovered it. “I’m an antique car guy—I find things,” he says.

Though this grimy, majestic beast originally shared the roads with herds of Model Ts, the Locomobile marque itself hearkens back to the earliest days of the automobile. The car was a luxury good before it Henry Ford made it readily available to the masses, and The Locomobile Company of America, founded in 1899, produced steam- and gas-powered cars that were every bit as grand as their brand’s title. While its finicky, steam-powered vehicles were primarily bought by the middle class as curiosities, Locomobile marketed its combustion-powered cars to those with very deep pockets.

The “48” in this Roadster’s name refers to its output: 48 horsepower from six cylinders displacing an imposing 8.6 liters. In keeping with the convention at the time, Locomobile did not produce its own bodies, which meant that well-endowed customers could exercise their creativity when ordering their Locomobile’s bespoke body. This particular example was special-ordered by a New England sea captain, who specified two cowl lights on his Custom 48: one red and one green, for port (on the driver’s side) and starboard. “I can’t wait to clean it up and wake it up,” writes Sullivan.

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