Auctions and Brokerage
D. Cameron Peck, Chicago, Illinois (acquired in 1940)Lindley Bothwell and Family, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above in 1947)Richard Rawlins, Santa Ana, California (acquired from the above in 2004)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2013)
“It is taken for granted that the person who steps from a Locomobile is a person of consequence,” boasted the firm’s advertising copy, a claim supported by an ownership list with names including Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Wrigley. The example offered here has been cared for by prominent names in the automotive world, a testimony to its desirability over the years, as well as the care it has received.
The Model 48 was the Bridgeport, Connecticut, firm’s most memorable offering, first introduced in 1911 with a production run through 1926. Known ownership of this car begins with one of the pioneers of the collector-car hobby, D. Cameron Peck of Chicago, who acquired it in 1940. Mr. Peck served as president of organizations including the Antique Automobile Club of America and the Sports Car Club of America, and his vast collection was composed of only the finest marques, each of which was carefully catalogued. Records pertaining to this Series VII Model 48 list its impressive specifications, with power provided by a massive 525 cid T-head six-cylinder engine and transmitted through a four-speed gearbox. Such power was best suited to the sporting coachwork exemplified by this Sportif body style. While Locomobile preferred not to name its custom coachbuilders, this design is credited to J. Frank de Causse, who apprenticed at Kellner of Paris before supervising design at Locomobile.
In 1947, the car passed to another collector of note, Lindley Bothwell of Los Angeles, and it remained in the family collection for 57 years. In 1992, this car gained notoriety for its role as Charlie Chaplin’s Locomobile in the film Chaplin, which starred Robert Downey Jr. In preparation for its silver screen debut at age 72, the car was treated to a new top and paintwork but care was taken to retain much of the interior and other trim as original.
Richard Rawlins, a noted Brass Era enthusiast and longtime acquaintance of the Bothwells, acquired the car in 2004 and enjoyed it on several vintage car tours. In 2013, it was sold to the current owner, who has used it sparingly since, always mindful of providing it with regular maintenance.
This Locomobile’s monochromatic color scheme – black paintwork, matching top, painted artillery wheels, and leather interior – and the dual rear-mounted spare tires present a purposeful statement, the perfect complement to its robust mechanicals. Seldom seen on the road today, just 23 examples of the Model 48 are known to the Classic Car Club of America. This Locomobile is a prime example of the firm’s finest mechanical offering coupled with attractive open coachwork. Its history includes care by noteworthy collectors who wisely preserved its qualities, and the addition of a film credit makes for a combination that is unlikely to be repeated.