Bridgeport-built Locomobile to be auctioned on Sunday

One of the cars to be auctioned off during this weekend’s Greenwich Concours D’Elegance is of particular local interest because in was built in Bridgeport.

The car is an exceedingly rare 1919 Locomobile Model 48 Six-Fender Town Car, with a body by the Demarest Co., a New York coachbuilder. It’s regarded as among the finest cars produced in the United States in the pre-1920 time frame. This was the so-called “brass era” because most of the fittings, screws, nuts and bolts were made of brass for their resistance to corrosion.

The Model 48, introduced in 1911, remained in production until 1926. Power was from a massive 525-cubic-inch six mated to a four-speed gearbox. The car still drives well, and it has been road-tested by auction officials.

According to experts from the auctioneer, Bonhams & Butterfields, few such Locomobiles with custom bodywork survive to this day. Because they were made with such expensive materials, most were cut up for the war effort. The leaf springs, for example, were made from chrome-nickel-tungsten steel

This particular car, with its exotic wheel-less fenders amidships, was one of the more expensive Locomobiles ever built, costing about three times the price of the standard open car.

The Locomobile plant was in the Bridgeport’s South End. The company frequently shot photos for its brochures in Seaside Park. The factory closed in about 1929.

There will be about 80 cars in the Bonham’s auction, which will begin on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. with an auction of so-called automobilia — artwork, tools, decanters, die-cast models and so forth. The hammer will fall for the cars beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Some of the other cars to be auctioned include a 1953 Aston Martin DB2 Saloon, a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette roadster, a 1956 Packard Caribbean convertible and a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta.

The auction is just a part of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, which will benefit AmeriCares. It takes place in Roger Sherman Park at the foot of Arch Street, within walking distance of the Greenwich Metro-North station. The show, featuring some of most unusual, expensive and exotic cars in the world, will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, 2012. Admission is $30 per day or $45 for both days.

John Burgeson