Collectible Club Cars
By “Fireman” Al Schwartz 83-20213
I was inspired to write something for e*Train on club car collectibles that I had after reading Editor Bob Mintz’s request in the March 2010 issue of The National Headquarters News.
I had previously co-authored an article for e*Train in its’ inaugural issue in May 2002 on the Club that I was formerly involved with, that being the Nassau Lionel Operating Engineers (NLOE), serving as their Club Car agent.
1989—10th Anniversary boxcar #52019
One of three cars that were issued in 1993, their boxcar “8393” was similar to their 1st 1989 boxcar with minor changes for their 10th anniversary. Differences included the LIRR keystone, background in red, the addition of their anniversary logo, and the car is marked #8393 to signify the year the club started (1983) and the current year (1993).
This car was available for club members and for the first time in their club’s history, was also available to the general public. This was because of the numerous requests they received from people wanting to purchase this car ever since it appeared on the cover of the June 1991 issue of “O” Gauge Railroading Magazine.
The tenth anniversary boxcar is a white plastic body mold with a metal floor. This car was equipped with the newer style Lionel plastic trucks.
425 cars were decorated by Pleasant Valley Process (PVP) with a built date of 6-93, with one distinct variation.
1997—Meenan Tank car # 52122
Just a few days before the cars were shipped, I called Lionel because all the recent paperwork I was receiving on this car had “Meenan” spelled “Meehan”. This was a little concerning to me so I asked Lionel to please check the spelling on one of the cars. About an hour later, I got a phone call back from Lionel confirming that Meenan was misspelled and all the cars had to be taken apart and a new tank would have to be painted. This delayed the shipping of the car.
The “Meehan” car in the photo was one of the factory errors given to me by Mr. Kughn. At that time, Mr. Richard Kughn was owner and CEO of Lionel. As such, he received 6 of each piece of factory production that came off of the Michigan assembly line. These cars were shipped to him prior to my discovering the error. I should make mention that some of the “Meehan” tanks were stolen from the factory and were used to make the more valuable “Meehan” car using parts from the second “new” production run.
2005—Pan Am boxcar #21639
This car was going to be a second piece to follow the Long Island Flatcar with Pam Am trailer # 52341. The Committee wanted to wait a year or two before we were going to do this piece. The photo shows the prototype for this car. As things do happen, I left the Club and joined the Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI).
I proposed that we use this boxcar for our first car. The RMLI Committee felt that this really wasn’t an appropriate car to produce. Not wanting to waste such a beautiful design, I called my friends at Lionel and suggested this car. I sent them the artwork that I had and offered the prototype.
2005—LILCO Transformer car # 52365
There is a little story behind these cars. In 1996, we started a passenger car series and this would be the first year without a freight car. It wasn’t until 2004 that the members wanted to fill in the gap of the 1996 freight car. I should mention that in 1997, we produced both a freight car and passenger car. After much discussion, it was decided that we would produce 200 Transformer cars “# 8396”. The number 200 was the minimum number of blanks we would have to purchase from Lionel at that time. This was going to be a “Member Only” car with the extras being sold to a small group of people who previously purchased cars from us. As I was printing out the order form, one of the color cartridges in my printer ran out of ink. What printed out was a surprise to me.
The gray car that was going to be on the flyer, printed out in pink, almost a perfect match to the color pink of the previously issued “Girl’s Set” by Lionel. I laughed to myself and almost threw the flyer out. I saved the picture and showed it to the other Committee member.
One of the Charter Members said he would like a car like that. After a quick decision, the Committee decided that when we do the run for the Transformer cars, we would also do 17 cars in pink. The pink would now be an exact match to the Girl’s sets. These cars would be given to a few people at Lionel and people who were very generous to us when we advertised our cars in their magazines. Also, two members of the Club were given these cars by the Committee for their years of devotion and hard work.
1.1990 4 Bay Covered Hopper Variation. This was the second car in the series of NLOE cars. The regular production run was a gray body with an orange roof and graphics. The variation was an all gray car with orange lettering. These cars were decorated over a Lionel 6-19309 Seaboard Hopper. Both cars had identical graphics and numbering. The cars are marked 8390. There were 45 cars produced with the orange roof and hatches and only 3 were produced with the gray roof and hatches. The built date on the car is 2-90
2.The green 2000 LIRR Mail Car Railway Post Office. The Committee wanted to try something different and two pre-production samples were painted in RPO green but it was decided that it just didn’t fit in with the rest of the passenger set. It was decided that the regular production run would be painted to match the set. The Lionel cars were undecorated and the Lionel SKU # is 52186. The regular production run had 100 cars. All of the cars were decorated by PVP.
3.F-3 “B” unit was never produced. This piece was going to match the F-3 double “A” units that were painted as part of the passenger set. The sample here is a mock up of what was planned for the set. It has Long Island Railroad graphics and the year 2003 which was the year it was supposed to be produced. Lionel did assign a SKU number of 52294 to the piece but the minimum number to order this was never received, so the idea was scrapped. Two mock ups were repainted on MPC “B” unit shells. Again, all these pieces were decorated by PVP. There were only 89 Observation cars produced for this set so that is the maximum number of sets completed produced.