This Lionel 221 belonged to my late father, one of two electric trains I got from his collection (the other is a Consoli Zephyr set, which technically belongs to my daughter):A child of the Depression, he had a huge soft spot for the Streamliners. His childhood train was a Hoge 900, a chrome-plated wannabe Streamliner made during the 1930s.
The 221 was Lionel's postwar "model" of the Dreyfus Hudson, the famous New York Central locomotive which saw service with the 20th Century Limited and other high-end passenger trains of the NYC. I can remember the day he bought it at a Greenberg show down in Timonium, Maryland. A poor refurbishment, it sat in his project pile for a very long time. It was missing its eccentric rods, a headlight lens, and a few other parts which we eventually tracked down and replaced, and it had no tender. Someone had given it a respray of satin-black paint and painted the nickel-rimmed drivers similarly with black paint. I found him a 221-W tender that was in really rough shape, missing its whistle, which I stripped, repainted, and re-lettered with a set of transfers. He was pretty happy with it, but said the paint job on the tender made the loco look even worse.
Lionel made a couple of versions of the 221, one in gunmetal/gray and one in black. The gray one looks a bit more prototypical, if that matters. It must have been something seeing one of these things hurtling past with a long drag of steel coaches, running up the eastern shore of the Hudson River to Albany, then west to Chicago.
It's been sitting up on the shelf now for some 20 years. It really needs to be cleaned up and returned to its former glory. At some point, the awful dry-transfer cab numbers need to be removed and replaced with transfers replicating the silver ink version it originally sported, and the rims of the drivers need to be stripped and polished. I'll have to bump it up in the project list.