[November 4th, 2005]
As with everything in these increasingly-cluttered and disorganized online scrapbooks which I loosely refer to as "webpages", this page hasn't been updated in quite a while. Quite a bit has happened since the last update below, two years ago.
For one thing, the ModelWorks Likamobile, or Locomobile steam car replica, is now in commercial production! Almost the entire first production run has already sold out like hotcakes, and production had to be increased beyond the original goals. If you want one, now is the time to buy!
For another thing, I was so impressed with the whole project -- seeing profitable commercial production of steam cars is every steam car nut's wildest dream -- that in May 2005 I flew to England to see the ModelWorks factory for myself. And man were my arms tired. To say that I was impressed with the expertise and facilities at ModelWorks would be an almost English understatement. No longer can steam car fans talk about "when steam cars come back into production some day in the future". Steam cars are back in production right now!
Here are a couple of links to current, frequently-updated webpages by a satisfied customer/builder of the ModelWorks Likamobile steam car kit:
I am working on some illustrated articles about my 2-week trip to England, during which I got to meet all sorts of fellow steam car enthusiasts and ride in 3 hot Stanley steam cars. While there, I also got to check out many more rare and fascinating steam cars and steam car equipment in considerable detail. Also in the works is an article on my trip to Berrien Springs, Michigan in September 2005, for the SACA National Meet. Both of these trips provided a huge flood of information, ideas, and inspiration, a serious mental overload which really got me "steamed up" on my steam car project. I am currently in the middle of some very intense (and exciting) design/fabrication work on the circulating pump and control system for my latest boiler design, and this is delaying the planned articles, and various updates to my webpages, by quite a bit. Not enough hours in the day...
Here's a picture of me aboard the control model/factory prototype of the ModelWorks Likamobile, at the ModelWorks Owner's Rally near Cardington, England, in May 2005:
[December 6th, 2003]
The Modelworks Board Of Directors have given the "Green Light" to the Locomobile replica project! Keep this in mind when reading the material below, much of which was written prior to the "go ahead" decision. Note the new link below to the Burrell Builder's Page, and Simon Cast's latest letter (December 5th, 2003), with mention of a possible future 1912 Stanley replica kit! Looks like steam cars are going back into production!
(Would you like to buy a Locomobile?)
The folks at Modelworks International in England are looking into manufacturing up to 120 highly authentic, complete, running, full-scale, roadworthy replicas of the 1901 Locomobile steam car! (See below for detailed illustrations and further info on the Locomobile). These would be sold as kits, which buyers could assemble at home with simple tools. Modelworks is a reputable, accomplished manufacturing company, with impressive production facilities and a long track record of producing superb LARGE running scale models of steam locomotives, traction engines, steam lorries (trucks), Tiger tanks, antique clocks, etc., so when they start seriously researching steam car production, anyone interested in steam power, antique cars, or steam automobiles should take note!
At present, they are analyzing an original running Locomobile, taking measurements, and putting together blueprints and production plans. This project is currently in the planning stages only -- however, it is very serious planning indeed. This is no mere toy or model project, but a full-sized, street-legal, fully operational, two-passenger steam automobile, running on regular gasoline, in museum-quality replica form, accurate to the smallest details. The only changes planned are a few invisible ones, such as the use of high-strength modern welded steel boiler construction, fully compliant with current boiler codes, and modern steam fittings and tires for complete operating safety. From the outside, however, the cars are planned to look absolutely identical to original Locomobiles, and they will exhibit the same smooth, powerful, steam-powered operation as the originals.
The Locomobile is one of the most desireable, beloved, and popular steam cars ever made. Besides achieving amazing popularity in its own time, it has become a steam car legend today. One writer at the SACA discussion board noted: "A Locomobile steamer is not just a parking lot toy, as a well tuned Locomoble easily travels at 30 mph and is very famous as a hill climber. Whether in the city or in the country, a well tuned Locomobile easily maintains a pace that will bring smiles to everyone's faces." He also notes that quite a few amateur-built Locomobiles have been registered for road use without difficulties.
One of my steam friends very vividly and fondly remembers his childhood ride in a Locomobile, which sparked a lifelong interest in steam cars. Not only did the Locomobile wow him and everybody else at the antique car show with its classic early-automobile looks, straightforward design, and wonderful workmanship, but when he got a chance to ride in it, he was amazed at its perfectly smooth, quiet operation, smart acceleration, and unbelievably comfortable ride. Today he says that no modern car he has ever driven or taken a ride in has equalled his Locomobile experience! Amazing praise for an automobile designed over 100 years ago!
Simon Cast, co-owner of Modelworks, is currently investigating the potential market for the Modelworks Locomobile replica, and his research results will be very important in deciding whether this project gets the "green light" [note update at top of page]. So if you are interested in buying a brand-new 1901 Locomobile, please write to him ASAP! And if you know somebody who collects steam equipment or antique cars, please tell them about this project. Or at least send Simon your letters of encouragement! You too can help get steam cars back into production! E-mail Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org. And spread the word! Let's get the steam ball rolling!
Also, if you are interested in purchasing a Locomobile kit, be sure to act now, as Modelworks will only be building about 120 Locomobile replicas at most, and these rare collectibles will be built on a strictly "first come, first served" basis. The sooner you reserve your kit, the sooner you will receive your Locomobile. Judging by the steam car discussion forums and private emails, interest in the Locomobile project is already high even at this very early stage, so those who delay may miss out entirely. As they say, "The early bird gets the worm".
For those who may not be able to personally afford such a rare, superbly-built antique car replica, this also looks like a great vehicle for a club, church, civic organization, school, auto shop, or other group (you and a group of your friends?) to pool their resources and purchase. Assembling and operating this car would make a fascinating group project! Imagine your group owning and operating a fine, very rare, and thoroughly authentic antique automobile for parades, tours, car shows, special events, giving rides, etc.. What an attention-getter! Great publicity for your group or business too!
The simplicity and beautiful classic layout of the Locomobile are extremely impressive, even today. In its time the Locomobile was the most successful, easily-operated, famous, and prestigious car on the road, winning all sorts of races, hill-climbing contests, and other competitions. The famous English poet Rudyard Kipling even wrote a poem about the Locomobile! Originally designed by steam car wizards F.E. and F.O. Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame, the Locomobile is virtually identical to the early Stanley Steamers, and its performance -- and the overwhelming demand for the car -- were so impressive that the Stanley Brothers were soon bought out. Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the Brothers agreed to stay out of the automobile business for several years, after which, to avoid patent infringement, they returned to car production with substantially different car designs. These brief notes only scratch the surface of the Locomobile steam car story -- a long and fascinating tale, to which an entire book could easily be devoted.
The Modelworks Locomobile replica is also a welcome development for serious collectors of the later Locomobile cars, as the Locomobile company went from their outstanding steam beginning to develop a fine American luxury marque which continued in manufacture until 1929. No Locomobile collection would be complete without an example of the very first Locomobile, the car upon which the Locomobile legend was founded!
Don't forget to write to Simon; his email address is: email@example.com
You can also reach him, and the other folks at Modelworks, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, you may also visit or send snail mail to the Modelworks factory at:
Modelworks International Limited
3 Riley Close
Daventry NN11 5QT
Also, check out the very impressive Modelworks website at: http://www.modelworks-int.com
The Discovery Channel will be covering Modelworks International in a show entitled "Supermodels 2", scheduled to run in late November, 2003. Check your local listings; don't miss it!
UPDATE, 12-6-2003: The Modelworks Website now includes run times and dates for the "Supermodels 2" program.
Modelworks Burrell Builder's Diary
Interesting independent website published by a Modelworks customer who is building both the Modelworks Burrell traction engine and their "Pride Of Penrhyn" overtype steam lorry (truck) model (my personal favorite Modelworks product!). Includes lots of great photos, building schedules and notes, and links to discussion groups and other independent webpages about Modelworks products. Check out what Modelworks customers themselves have to say about the equipment and their building & operating experiences!If you are planning to buy, build, and drive a Modelworks Locomobile, you may want to start your own project website, to record your adventures!
Below are some great original 1902 illustrations of the Locomobile from one of my old steam car books. These show darn near every part of the machine, exactly as Simon and the rest of the crew at Modelworks are planning to build it.
These picture files are quite large due to their extreme detail, so I have put one on this page and the others on separate pages to keep the page-loading time halfway reasonable for those of us with dial-up connections. If your browser displays them as small screen-width pictures, see if your computer can download the images and blow them up to full screen size.
One picture is on this page; links to the other picture pages, some other notes, and an open letter from Simon Cast himself, are at the bottom of this page. Enjoy! Here's hoping that this wonderful machine returns to production!
Be sure to hit your "back" button after viewing these illustrations, to get back to this page for more.
The Locomobile Engine
Parts Of The Locomobile, Illustrated And Captioned
A Top View Of The Locomobile Chassis, Showing The Powerplant
(reprinted from the SACA Steam Car Discussion Forum; note that the Modelworks team located an original Locomobile to examine for blueprint purposes shortly after this post was written.)
Author: Simon Cast (---.popl.cable.ntl.com)
Date: 09-26-03 12:51
My name is Simon Cast and I jointly own a model engineering company called Modelworks. (www.modelworks-int.com). As you will see from our web site we produce buy as you build kits for large scale steam model locomotives, traction engines, lorries and tanks.
The main advantage we have over other engineering companies is that all our components are supplied fully machined and ready to assemble (after perhaps a little filing but no milling or a lathe is ever required) This way even if you are a novice engineer (like myself) you are able to build, over a relatively short period of time, compared to scratch built models, a large scale live steam model.
We are considering producing a full scale kit of a 1901 locomobile that would be supplied to our clients on a monthly basis. Each month a kit of parts would be delivered so the 1901 Locomobile would require 12-18 months to build. Once the final kit had been delivered and built, steaming would then be readily available.
I am writing to all of the steam enthusiasts out there to ask all of you, if we did decide to produce such a kit would it be of interest to the steam car community. I say this because we would not want to in any way insult engineers who would feel that they would rather "do it themselves"
We believe we could produce a high quality and accurate Locomobile within perhaps 12 months from now if we feel the demand is there. No definite decisions have yet been taken, but at the factory in Daventry, England we have a considerable amount of enthusiasm for such a project, again if we feel the model would enjoy enough demand within the steam car community, and to be fair the modelling fraternity in general.
So I am asking anyone who has been kind enough to read this to please give me your thoughts and feelings about just what YOU would look for from such a steam car, and if you feel there is a market for just such a project as this. Once again thank you for taking the time and trouble to read this note.
One final thought if this were to proceed we would require as accurate and original drawings as anyone would be able to provide to us. Any suggestions as to where or if any such drawing's do indeed exist?
Once again many thanks
[More from Simon at the discussion board ...]
Author: Simon Cast (---.popl.cable.ntl.com)
Date: 09-29-03 12:30
Thank you for taking the trouble to read my e-mail. That's a very good question, if you look at our website http://www.modelworks-int.com you will find our biggest and most complex model is a 4" scale model of a Burrell traction engine. That one will be delivered over 24 months and will eventually be 70" long and weigh half a ton!
In English money the total cost for the Burrell, as I say spread over 24 months less the deposit of £1299, is 24 monthly payments of £479 giving a total of £12,795. That gives an american dollar figure for that particular model of about $20-21,000 based on £1 equalling $1.60ish.
I believe (but as I say these are rough estimates at the moment) we could produce a high quality and reasonably accurate full scale 1901 locomobile for somewhere between £14-16,000. That would translate to a roughly projected American dollar figure of approximately $23-26,000 or there abouts.
Please don't hold me to these figures because as I say collectively we have made no definite decision's about going into production yet, but talking to the staff they all have a great deal of enthusiasm for the proposed project. Personally I don't see how it can be more complex than the Burrell and next year we will be launching a 4" scale burrell Showman's as well and that beastie will be nearly 90" so I feel a Locomobile will be within our engineering and production capabilities.
My main concern for a model of this size will be the shipping costs of the kits to America because I believe this model will be more popular in USA than the UK. That may make it unrealistic for American clients however if enough were sold in America, and I am thinking we will need to sell 100-150 Stateside and hopefully 50-80 in UK and Europe. If these figures are achievable then I would consider probably sending over the American kits on a quarterly basis rather than monthly by boat and not by plane.
I wonder Jordan if you would perhaps be kind enough to ask around and find out what the interest levels would be in the American clubs if such a Locomobile kit were to become available. As I say we have considerable enthusiasm for the project but I just do not know what sort of numbers we would need to build, and frankly how popular it would be at these kind of pricing levels.
Once again thank you for responding to my e-mail and I hope to hear from you in the not to distant future, many thanks
Simon On Possible Future 1912 Stanley Kit:
(From the SACA Forum)
Author: Simon Cast
Date: 12-04-03 07:45
We are having a meeting tomorrow the 5th at the factory in Daventry, we are probably going to run the same editorial and Modelworks ad in the GB steam car bulletin that we are currently running in the SACA bulletin in January's edition. We will be discussing the Locomobile and when we think it likely that we could start to market it properly and start taking reservation deposit's.
My own feeling is that we will be in a position to do that by hopefully March or April of next year, with Kit 1 being despatched to client's home's by November/Decmber 2004. As I have explained to you all in previous post's we have a waiting list of about 20-25 of people (and 1 modelling society)who have expressed a very keen interest in building one already, which considering all these people have come to us from basically word of mouth enquiries is enormously encouraging. At this rate I do not think the Locomobile kit's will be available for very long before they will all be sold out.
We have also had a really good response so far from the Discovery channel programme we were on last week. I think we have so far picked up 15 or 20 enquiries for our current steam models, and 1 or 2 Tiger Tank's I think as well. I thought I would let you all know about some future model's we are going to be offering in the new year apart from the Locomobile full size kit. One of my business partners Bob has secured the plan's and right's to allow us to offer a one fifth scale bench mounted Bentley Aero Engine in the new year, and if (and at the moment is a big if) the Locomobile is successful and we sell all our anticipated run of 100-120 vehicle's in America and Europe combined then I certainly, and I think my colleagues at Modelwork's as well, would love to offer a Full size kit of the 1912 "Coffin-Nosed" Stanley in about 2005/6 if we are at all able to do so. I just absolutely fell in love with Jeff Theobald's maroon and yellow car, quite simply one of the prettiest vintage car's I have ever seen I think. That is one of the reason's why the Locomobile need's to be a success, because if it is then we would certainly consider the Locomobile as a "dry" run for the 1912. Looking at the car I think the engine and boiler are basically the same just bigger and more powerful. If we can overcome the bodywork and leather issues with the Locomobile then the 1912's bodywork is just again bigger and more complex (and with less wood!). We would also have to venture into the brand new world of steering wheel's, windscreen's and disc brake's! At that point I feel our client's would look at us and say "Well the Locomobile was pretty good, what's your encore going to be?" and I feel the 1912 would be just such a product with that all important "Wow" factor.
You can read more of the interesting discussions between Simon and steam car fans and experts -- and even join in yourself -- at the public discussion boards at Stanleysteamers.com and The Steam Automobile Club Of America.
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