1925 Locomobile Model 48 Sportif

Sold For $112,750

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The William B. Ruger Jr. Collection

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  • Offered from the William B. Ruger Jr. Collection
  • Well-preserved concours restoration by Fran Roxas
  • Desirable later chassis with four-wheel brakes
  • One of the most significant American designs of the Jazz Age
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

The Locomobile Model 48 was the car of America’s conservative millionaires—solidly and ruggedly designed using the finest materials, including numerous special metals in the T-head six-cylinder engine. For the more flamboyant of those millionaires, designer J. Frank deCausse developed the aptly named Sportif, a fleet four-passenger touring car of close-coupled European inspiration. It soon became the iconic Model 48 body style and today remains the most desirable to collectors. Many consider it among the most significant Nickel Era American automobiles.


One of William B. Ruger Jr.’s goals with his collection was to acquire and compare the great automobiles of an era—hence his ownership over the years of a Springfield Silver Ghost, a 1924 Packard Single Eight (also offered here), and this Locomobile Model 48 Sportif. He enjoyed learning the cars’ most minute details and savored the experience of driving and, where possible, improving them. Few owners have experienced their automobiles as deeply as the late Mr. Ruger, a man who thrilled at getting the most enjoyment possible from his collection, especially on the open road.

A desirable late-production model with four-wheel brakes, this Sportif was acquired by Mr. Ruger in late 1999 and entrusted to respected Brass Era restorer David Greenlees of Brattleboro, Vermont, who did mechanical restoration work, which included a full engine rebuild. Mr. Ruger understandably enjoyed the result very much, as he never got along with the original transmission. The owner applied his mind to the problem and developed a modern “bolt-in” installation of a Ford truck transmission, much more enjoyable for driving on today’s roads.

After enjoying the Locomobile for a few years, in 2007–2008 it was professionally restored by the respected Fran Roxas of Illinois to the highest standards of fit and finish. Invoices on file for work from both restorers total over $300,000. Still virtually pristine in its rich burgundy and black livery, and ready for further concours showing or continued spirited driving, this is among the most attractive, best-restored surviving examples of the Locomobile Sportif, one of the great chassis and body designs of the Jazz Age.

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