An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Kid Hawkins’ Locomobile 48 – A Roadster of Grand Proportions

Smith Hempstone Oliver was an early collector, antique automobile enthusiast, and photographer, who later was appointed the Curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian Institute. In the early-1930s, he was in the Navy stationed at the Naval Yard, in Brooklyn, New York, and went out on regular excursions with his Stutz Bearcat looking for old and interesting cars.

At the time, Smith discovered on Carlton Avenue in Brooklyn this imposing early to-mid-1920s, white Locomobile Model 48 owned by a man named “Kid” Hawkins and photographed it front of the John Bene & Sons Inc. Manufacturing Chemists building. It was retrofitted with glass hood sides giving a clear view of the impressive Loco 525 c.i.d. T-head engine with high-strength manganese bronze crankcases.

Model 48 Locomobile

  • The front view of the Model 48 Locomobile show what appears to be Bausch and Lomb headlamps.

The complete story of Oliver’s discovery of this car in 1932 can be found in one of the 1962 issues of the VMCCA “Bulb Horn”. The catalog illustration below from the Custom Body section in a 1921 Locomobile sales book in our archives shows a similar “Four Passenger Roadster” with a rumble seat.

Hawkins’ car only shows one running board toolbox and a flat rear deck, but actual custom-bodied cars were available with two different styles of fenders and all that have survived all have slight variations from the artist’s renderings in the catalogs. A “Gunboat Roadster” was also offered that shared the same lines. One-off bodies were also available from several coachbuilders as was a bare chassis allowing the customer to have it bodied by whatever firm they choice.

The images from the Smith Hempstone Oliver Collection are courtesy of The Revs Institute Research Library.

  • 1921 Locomobile Model 48 catalog illustration of the custom-built “Four Passenger Roadster.”

Locomobile Custom Four-Pass. Roadster


4 responses to “Kid Hawkins’ Locomobile 48 – A Roadster of Grand Proportions

  1. “Hemp” was a friend, most generous with his amazing old photographs and with a very sharp memory. Glad to hear that his collection is in good hands!


  2. Not trying to be un-PC here (despite the presence of the Donald on the scene), but was Hemp black? If so, did he collect mainly in the Northeast or did his travels also take him South. Fun looking Loco!

  3. The body “style”, the ‘accessories’ and the 3 BALD spares indicate that the Owner may be as unique as a LOCOMOBILE, (an impressive mechanical device)! To each his own, (My AA truck has, among other “Things”, — a TWIN set of “Elbow Style” “TORO-VOCE” (the bellering voice of a Bull) Horns, (EA Labs Brooklyn) Deer do NOT like them!!! Whoopie! Edwin W.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *