Car 655 comes from the PE’s largest, and best-known, class of cars. Nicknamed “Hollywood Cars” for their many years of service on lines in the Hollywood area, a total of 160 were built between 1922 and 1928, at the height of the system’s development. The cars were equipped for multiple-unit operation, and ran in trains of up to three cars.
After retirement in 1954, PE 655 was sold for scrap and joined the stacks of other streetcars awaiting destruction at National Metals in the LA Harbor area. It was rescued by Richard Fellows, owner of the Fellows & Stuart boat yard across the street. It became one of six retired PE cars that Richard intended to convert into self-propelled rubber tired vehicles. Saddened by the demise of the PE, Richard had decided to make the best of things by adapting a group of Red Cars for road use! Over the next decade, the 655 was stripped to a steel skeleton and completely rebuilt. The interior was gutted and rebuilt with new window sash, doors and ceiling panels.
The restored carbody was mounted on a pair of dual-axle rubber tired bogies obtained from military surplus. The front axles were steered from a modified controller at the motorman's position. The car's original air compressor was retrofitted with a generator-driven AC motor, and the original brake valves were to have operated the brakes. The deadman pedal would serve as the accelerator, and a gear shift lever added to shift the automatic transmission. Although the exterior and interior restoration work was completely finished, the car never did receive its engine, and so it never ran under its own power on rubber tires (only Richard's Car 1058, now at the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line, would ever operate on rubber tires).
Following Richard's passing in 1995, the 655 was acquired by OERM. In 2007, it was placed back on steel wheels, and became the first car to be moved into Carhouse Seven. The Museum has all of the components necessary to convert the 655 back into a fully functional railcar, which it hopes to do in the near future. Richard was very careful not to remove any original mechanical equipment unless absolutely necessary. Consequently, most of the car's original airbrake system is intact, which will make the restoration to rail operation that much easier.
Renumberings: Car 655 was renumbered 5094 in 1950.