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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I became intrigued with the Lionel 1688E, after reading an article posted on CTT magazine's Forum. The article was a reprint under "Timeless Classics" as one of the features of the forum. The original article was published back in 2005, authored by John A. Grams (now deceased), who highlighted an odd 1688E that didn't look like all the others. The article stated that most of the 1688/1688E locos were all pretty common, except for the one he wrote the article about. It was the very first issued 1688E, made only in 1936, that had Forward facing open windows in the cab. When you look at the multitude of 1688's, whether 1688 or 1688E, at least 98-99% don't have that feature. When the article was written, he stated that they (presumed other collectors) didn't know how many were made, or how many are still out there.

I decided to search mostly eBay, and other sites to see if I could find one. As luck would have it, I did find one, and later two more. I presently own three of these first issues from 1936. While doing my searching I started to see a whole lot of different characteristics, that made me think that they were not all common, as most would think. An interesting note about the body/shell of these locos, is that the same body was used on Lionel's 1588 wind-up, and the 1668/1668E locos.

The only reference at the beginning of my searching, consisted of Doyle's Catalog of Prewar, but very little was found showing all the different changes in the casting, that I was noticing. I then started to do some deep research, and have been doing it for at least 5 months, looking at thousands of photos, buying different bodies, and sometimes a complete loco. I later purchased Greenberg's Guide to Lionel 1901-1942, Vol. II, "0 & 00 Gauges. That book showed and noted variations, from different known collectors, who provided the entries into his Guide. The 1688/1688E listed 8 variations. The 1668/E he showed 3 variations, and only one variation for the 1588. That total of all three loco bodies came to 12. I have since found, the combination of all three locos, a total of 26 variations. The 1688/E has a total of 18 by itself.

Attached is a PDF file of what I found, with additional information pertinent to Lionel's manufacturing process. The PDF file is 4 pages long, but if you have any interest in Lionel's production of the 027 version of the Loewy Torpedo, check it out. There was one omission, from the 1588 list. The third version, did not have a roof hatch, or the Winged Keystone.

View attachment Rev. 1-Variations of the Lionel Torpedo Castings.pdf

The PDF file is repeated in Post #40, of this thread. The original PDF file that was included in this post, had errors, and I have replaced that file, with the updated version.


This is a photo of the Open Window version

1688-a.JPG
 

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Hobo for Life
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Wow doc, nice work. I was atually a few years back bidding on one with only one number plate. I decided to stop bidding because I thought it was damaged and filled in with bonds to hide the zinc pest. Now I know better�� I'll re read this and compare it to mine. Nice to know this info exists. Why not send it in to one of the other guage magazines?
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #3
Well now you know better. I have both the 1688 and the 1668 single plate version. If you look at the side with no provision for the plate, they took the original casting of the 1588 wind up, where the key would pass through the side, and that is the casting used to create these single plate versions. The only glitch is that the inside of the cab has a solid firewall, and not an open cab wall. Lionel modified the castings as needed. The 1588 and the 1936 casting of the 1688E have the open cab wall, which was eliminated from 1937 onward.
 

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I should, and do now, but a few years ago I didn't! And reading through your detailed cataloging of the diffrent versions, I remembered the one that got away. ( probably the 1000 that got away)
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #5
1936 Issued 1688E compared to later versions

Here are a few photos to show the difference, and the determination for a 1936 issued 1688E, as compared to the later issued bodies. The 1936 version is very easy to spot, with these telltale castings. The raised roof hatch never was issued after 1936, nor was the cab firewall open. In 1937 the firebox wall was cast into the body. The early 1936 bodies were what many refer to as the "thin cast", and in 1937 to the end of production the cast was made thicker. Apparently to alleviate breakage on the nose of the loco body.
1688 comparison 1.jpg

1688 comparison.jpg

As time permits, I will try to add other photos later, to show some of the casting changes that took place during the years this body was produced. Of the ones that I own, they are in various stages of restoration, minus motors, some trim pieces, etc.
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The three motors used in 1688's

Below are the three (NOT TWO) versions of motors used in the production of the 1688/1688E locos. Version one was the first motor used, marked Lionel Jr., that was later labelled Lionel 027, with different wheels. Version two used a single lateral screw that passed through the body, near the rear, and it not very common. The third version motor looks very much like the Postwar 1654 motor, the only difference being the rear wheels had elongated hubs, for the linkage on the 1688. The wheels were changed to eliminate the hubs, and was re-issued in Postwar for the 1654.

1688E version 1 motor.JPG
The above is Type 1 motor

1688-motor version 2.jpg
Above is Type 2 motor

1688 version 3 motor.JPG
Above is Type 3 motor
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Winged Keystone 1936 ONLY

Below are photos of the Winged Keystone found only on 1936 issued torpedo shells. The same feature was used on the 1588 windup loco, issued in 1936, which also shared the raised roof hatch on the 1588 windup. These features were eliminated starting with the 1937 issue, and remained that way until 1941.
1688E keystone.jpg

torpedo keystone text.JPG
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #8
Sand dome & Safety Valves

The 1588, 1668, & 1688 all share the same die casting, with minor variations throughout the years of production. The 1588 was made in only 1936, which had the raised roof hatch, some with the Keystone, some without, and an open firebox wall, exclusive to 1936 issues. The sand dome and the safety valves on the 1588 were integral to the casting. The 1668 and 1688 versions had nickel domes and valves inserted into the body, as an added part. Here is a shot of a 1588, along with a 1688 shell.
1588 domes A.jpg

1588 domes.jpg

1688-d.JPG
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That was something I needed to add, so that viewers of the thread can see a visual. As I can amass the photos, and group them so they appear coherent with the thread, I will continue posting. I have another shell I am bidding on, and should get it cheap. It is one that I don't have in my collection of variations.

Anyone that has any question about these locos, I will gladly answer. Some of the bodies are Rarer than others, as far as how many made, but not what I consider Rare for resale value.
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #11
The PDF file in the initial post can be downloaded by anyone that needs to save it. All the PDF files that I have added here in the forum, in various sections are all available to download for your own purposes. It is there for everyone to share.
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #12
I found another unknown 1688E variation that falls between a 1936 version and a 1937 version. It has all the typical earmarks of being 1936 vintage with the open firebox wall, but does not have the typical roof hatch found on all 1936 bodies. The variations are mind boggling, if you know what to look for.
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #13
Received 1688E Black 1936 version with roof hatch and NO keystone in today's mail, and won the auction on the newly found version in the above post. The newly found version doesn't have the keystone or the raised roof hatch, but the firebox wall is open, to where you can visually see the motor looking inside the cab. I missed the bid on the first one I saw, but did win the second one. The way some versions are identified in the Greenberg Catalog, are simply number plate variations of 1688 or 1688E, and others are listed as either Gunmetal Gray or Black. I am trying to collect the obscure body change variations, to actually have them all. Just have to keep looking!!!!

I think I only need 3 more of both 1688 or 1668 locos.:cool:
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #14
Some additional Photos

Thought it was time to add a few photos, showing some basics and some unique Torpedoes.

This is the Type I body, where the motor is mounted with 2 screws through the running boards. This style was used throughout 1936-1938
1688 version one body.jpg

This is the Type I motor, with the flat horizontal plate, mounted through the running boards. There are actually two variations of this motor, with the earliest one marked Lionel Jr., 8 spoke wheels. The other version is marked Lionel 027, 12 spoke wheels.
1688E type 1 motor.jpg

This is the second version of body, (not very common), that uses a single 2 1/4" screw through the body to mount the motor.
1688 version two body.jpg

This is the Type II motor that has two tabs with holes for the screw to pass through the body, motor, and thread into opposite side.
Lionel 1688E type 2 motor.JPG

This is the third type body, issued in 1940, that used what is referred to as the Die Cast Motor (identical to a Postwar 1654 motor.
1688 version three body.jpg

This is the Type III motor, used on the last version of the 1688, and is identical to a Postwar 1654 (single reduction motor)
1688 type 3 motor.JPG

This a photo of the 3/4" square roof hatch that is ONLY found on 1936 issues, which was eliminated by 1937.
1688E roof hatch.jpg

This is a photo of the "Winged Keystone", ONLY found on 1936 issues, which was sporadically used, but eliminated by 1937.
1688E keystone.jpg

This is a photo of a 1688 body, that has a countersink hole between the safety valves and the cab, which is the type of motor mount that was common on the 1668/1668E 2-6-2 locos.
countersink hole 1688.jpg

This is a photo of a 1668 (2-6-2) loco, that has two extra holes on the side like the motor mounting holes would be for the third version Die Cast motor 1688.
double countersink 1668.jpg

These are some of the variations that can be found, when you look closely at the different bodies. The placement of the slot of the E unit, is the telltale mark of what loco you have. The type I & II motors of the 1688 are in the same spot. The die cast motor has the slot moved back. The 1668/1668E has the slot forward behind the smoke stack.

I personally own every single body variation of the 1588, 1688, & 1668, and the motors used, with the exception of the Wind Up motor for the 1588. Not many survived from 1936, and are expensive if you do find one that is complete.
 

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Hobo for Life
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They are nice doc. And I think they run pretty good for old stuff. No with your inspiration, I'm off to the flee market to look for trains I don't need.
 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #16
Sjm911, So didn't we just get a New Vehicle....and now you need a model train fix????? Find something good. Do you have any decent flea markets up near you??
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Teledoc has been diagnosed with a severe case of Torpedolightnisess.

The only known cure is to get as many torpedo locomotives as one can fine. :p

I am willing to bet that there are a few more waiting to be discovered.:smokin:




 

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Moderator Torpedo Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
It must be a carryover from my Navy days, serving on Submarines, that draws me to "Torpedoes"......

It really started with the CTT article about the least known version with Open Forward facing Windows, and my quest to find one. I now own three of that versions, but started to notice subtle differences with all the ones I viewed. Greenberg's book was the only source that listed variations that they knew, when the book was printed. His list of 1688/1688E only had 8 variations. I found 18, just on that loco.

The 1588, 1688, & 1668 all came from the basic shell, and I can probably answer any question about them including the different motors used on the 1688's.
 

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Hobo for Life
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Went to Collingwood. Found a bunch of g track, but a ive got a ton of that sitting around too. So no train stuff for me. The jeep looked good with a dollar store flag flying behind it. Probably made in China, so I counted the stars and stripes to make sure it was correct. Last miniut decision, my flags usually are usa made. I figure at least were getting some jobs by purchasing there.
 
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