2021 | Pebble Beach Auctions
1917 Locomobile Model 48 Gunboat Cabriolet
From the Stephen P. Dean Collection
Coachwork by Healey
$175,000 - $225,000| Without Reserve
One-Off Healey Coachwork Designed by J. Frank de Causse
Known Provenance with Just Three Owners from New
Authentically Restored by Stephen Dean in Its Original Colors
2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® Award Winner
Single Updraft Ball and Ball Carburetor
4-Speed Manual Selective-Sliding Gearbox
Rear Mechanical Drum Brakes
Front Solid Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Rear Live Axle with Three-Quarter Elliptical Leaf Springs
Eleanor Day Boyce and Family, Wallace, Idaho (acquired new in 1916)Harrah’s Automobile Collection, Reno, Nevada (acquired from the above in 1975)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1981)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 1996Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2007 (Second in Class)
“Easily the best built car in America,” boasted Locomobile advertising, a claim validated by the lengthy production run of its most famous offering, the Model 48. In production from 1911 to 1929, the original, robust design required minimal updates during its life and is recognized today as a true giant of early American motoring. The example presented here features one-off custom coachwork and has been cared for by just three owners over the past 104 years.
The car was ordered by Eugene Day of Wallace, Idaho, mining fame as a gift to his sister Eleanor Day Boyce on the occasion of her 50th birthday. The Bill of Sale lists delivery on December 23, 1916, to a dealer in Spokane, Washington, with a chassis price of $4,600 and its “Special Cabriolet Convertible Body” adding another $2,650 to its cost. The body is unique, a one-off design by J. Frank de Causse who led Locomobile’s Custom Body Department following tenure at Kellner in Paris.
The coachwork was constructed by Healey of New York and employs a number of interesting features. A single door on the right side provides access to the passenger compartment equipped with a forward-positioned driver’s seat and a pair of adjustable lounge seats for passengers. The body can be configured as an enclosed coupe, as an open cabriolet, or with the roof open above the driver. The roof assembly employs concealed springs which counterbalance the weight of the mechanism, allowing for single-person operation.
During its first 58 years, the car saw minimal use and was cared for by the Day family chauffeur who stored it in a heated building or a silver mine shaft, protected from the elements. It passed to Harrah’s Automobile Collection in 1975 and was then acquired by enthusiast Stephen Dean in September 1981. Mr. Dean embarked on its restoration in 1986 and was exceedingly particular about the materials used in the process. The gray wool fabric was new old stock material acquired by Phil Hill in Paris. During a 1988 trip to England, Mr. Dean acquired specially tanned leather produced for exterior applications from Connolly and used this to finish the convertible top. True to its original colors, it features midnight paintwork with black fenders highlighted with cream wheels and trim.
Following restoration, the car was displayed at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and returned in 2007 where it received a second-place class award. Used minimally since, its stately presence still demands attention. It comes equipped with a set of hand tools, Locomobile instruction books, parts lists, and the rare Book of the Locomobile published by the company. Rarely seen in museums or on the show field, this Locomobile provides the combination of a one-off design, a meticulous restoration, and documented history with limited ownership.
*Please note that the VIN listed on the title for this vehicle contains a typographical error; the fifth character of the VIN is listed as a “1”, but is in fact a “9”.