Northern California Region
The current club newsletter features a photo of the
circa-1925 Locomobile 48 that was taken in the Marina District of San Francisco
about 1932 or 1933 by a first cousin of my Dad’s.
He must have had a very fine camera because the original photo was only
about 2 x 3 inches. Note 1929
Chevrolet Coupe (NC) across the street.
The story goes that this car was first purchased at
the San Francisco Auto Show (circa 1925 or 1926) and per Owen Hoyt may have been
a Salon Model. My cousin obtained it from the original owner’s widow, who did
not drive, as a replacement for their Marmon Wasp Speedster in order to
accommodate the arrival of their first child in 1932. The Marmon was a Model 34B (NC) which were built from 1922 to
1928 and had been a gift from my cousin’s father as a reward for his being
admitted to Stanford. I think that
it was bought as a “pre-owned car,” a.k.a. “a second hand car” in those
days. It sure needed new clean
tires as you can see in the small photo of his wife standing beside the car
taken in Palo Alto about 1927 or 1928. Sharp-eyed
Jim Weston identified the town from the streetlights, which are clearly visible.
My dear friend, his widow, was apologetic about the then fashionable
clothes she was wearing in the photo, but I am certain Lorraine Blackburn will
appreciate them, if no one else!
I remember seeing the Marmon once or twice at
my great grandmother’s house, but the Locomobile I remember vividly.
Luckily for me, my cousin, his wife and baby son would sometimes drop in
for a visit on a Sunday afternoon (as people did in those by-gone days) and take
me for a ride out to the beach along the Great Highway.
My cousin was very proud of this car and I can clearly remember him
raising the heavy hood to show me the gigantic 6-cylinder 525 cubic inch engine
with the cylinders set in pairs and the shiny copper water jackets.
With this huge displacement horsepower was rated at a whopping 107! The
Locomobile 48 was, as you may know, one of
America’s top luxury cars in the Rolls Royce range. It rode on a
142-inch wheelbase and most bodies were built by the Bridgeport Body Company in
of the amusing anecdotes told to me not long ago by my cousin’s charming widow
was that her husband once asked her how she managed to drive that behemoth as
she was so small and slight of stature. She
told me that she replied, “Well, it’s the only car we have.” So she drove
it, Mack truck steering and double clutching notwithstanding. I feel quite
indebted to her for providing me with these photos when she found them.
I had been asking for a photo of the Locomobile for years and the Marmon
speedster was a bonus. What is even more amazing and gratifying to me is that
the widow, small (5 ft., 3” or 4”) and still slight, remains as delightful
and sharp as ever traveling the world annually, taking either her son or
daughter - in her mid-nineties - yet. Age is not discussed, but they were
married in 1928 and both were college graduates!
Last modified: October 08, 2001