1. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  2. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  3. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  4. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  5. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  6. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  7. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  8. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  9. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  10. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  11. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  12. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  13. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  14. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  15. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  16. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

  17. 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet

Lot Number
1
1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet
The Pacific Grove Auction

Offered Without Reserve

ESTIMATE: $300,000 - $400,000
CHASSIS NO: 10850
• Exceedingly rare as one of just two known examples today
• 2017 FIVA Preservation Award Winner, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
• Fascinating history includes early ownership by top Maryland socialite
• Incredibly rare and ingenious Collapsible Cabriolet folding top system
• Benefiting from the care of a limited roster of owners
• Wonderful presentation with highly engaging patina of originality

425.6 cid L-head inline six-cylinder engine, 43.35 HP rating, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, full-floating rear axle with ¾-elliptic leaf springs, two-wheel (rear) mechanical brakes; wheelbase: 134”


Organized in June 1899 by John Brisben Walker, Cosmopolitan magazine editor and publisher, and Amzi Lorenzo Barber, who earned a fortune in the asphalt business, Locomobile began operations with small steam-powered cars built to a Stanley design. Ownership and management changes, a merger, and development of a new gasoline model defined Locomobile’s early years, with the company soon gaining an enviable reputation for producing upscale, high-quality automobiles. Locomobile also briefly enjoyed competition glory, with entries in the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup in France and the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup races held at Long Island, where a third-place podium was scored in 1905. The 1906 Vanderbilt Cup car, “Old 16,” was dusted off and driven to victory at the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup by George Robertson, setting a new speed record and fame as the first American-built car to win the prestigious event. Several more wins were scored in 1908; having proven its point, Locomobile abandoned racing by 1909. Locomobile’s road models were reorganized for 1909 and beyond. The new six-cylinder Model 48 arrived for 1911, followed by the new Model 38 – also a ‘six’ – by 1912 and produced through 1918. Fitted with some of the sportiest and most elegant bodies, Locomobiles of this era often sported lamps and metalwork designed by Tiffany & Co., and Elsie De Wolf, the noted actress and interior decorator, helped design interiors for the closed models. The object of automotive desire for the wealthiest and most prominent personalities of the early 20th Century, Locomobiles are rare and enjoy strong collector demand today.

This 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet carries fascinating provenance, having been owned new by Baltimore, Maryland socialite Mary Ridgley Brown Lee, daughter of Frank Brown, 42nd Governor of Maryland from 1892 to 1896. Known in youth as “May” Brown, she was the Official Hostess of Maryland from 1895 to 1896 and listed on Mr. Astor’s “Famous 400” list in New York. In November 1903, she married Gordon Taylor Hughes, a prominent New York lawyer and Harvard graduate, who died suddenly at home in New York in April 1907. May eventually married Alfred Edward Dietrich, a New York millionaire and former president of Chesapeake Gas in Baltimore, but the couple later divorced. May went on to marry Merwyn Ketcham Lee in June 1921; only a short time later, she passed away on March 4, 1922 aged 40.

Following May’s death, the Locomobile was retained by Mr. Lee and it is believed the vehicle was last registered in 1930. A District of Columbia registration card with the car is dated 1926. Today, it carries a District of Columbia license plate and retains the personal monogram of Mary Ridgley Brown Lee. Her husband, a WW I veteran military officer, lived on for some time, at least long enough to have been registered for the Fourth Registration or “Old Man’s Draft” in April 1942. He is believed to have retained the Locomobile for some years after his wife’s passing, possibly explaining how it miraculously escaped WW II scrap drives. The next known owner was Emanuel Williamson, who emigrated to the United States from Norway and worked at Locomobile prior to WW I. Following wartime service, he established an automobile garage in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, and after the Locomobile came into his possession, he is known to have stated publicly that he had helped to build this very 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet. Mr. Williamson retained the Locomobile until his passing in 1980 and his son sold the car on to collector John Delorenzo, also of Connecticut, who retained the car until 2014, when it was acquired for the consignor by a “picker” while visiting Mr. Delorenzo’s private collection. While having not been started for several decades, the Locomobile was inspected and chugged back to life under the consignor with surprisingly little effort. Most recently, this 1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet received the FIVA/HVA Preservation Award at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where its rarity, elegance, and wonderfully preserved originality created a sensation among the attendees. As offered, it will certainly continue to enchant all who experience it.

1916 Locomobile Model 38 Collapsible Cabriolet
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