30 November-1 December 2007
1905 Stanley Model EX Runabout
- Chassis no. 2101
Sold for $126,500
10hp, two-cylinder double-acting steam engine geared directly to differential, four-wheel
fully-elliptic leaf spring suspension, two-wheel mechanical brakes.
The Stanley brothers were identical twins who made their fortune manufacturing photographic dry plates. They first considered the idea of building a steam-powered automobile in 1896, and had a car running by September 1897. The next autumn, at Charles River Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Stanleys’ steam car amazed onlookers as it effortlessly bested its competitors in an 80-foot incline challenge. Not surprisingly, a flood of orders quickly ensued.
The brothers set up a plant adjacent to their plate factory in nearby Watertown, but before production had begun they sold the business to John Brisben Walker and Amzi Lorenzo Barber. The automobile became the Locomobile steam runabout, America’s best-selling car from 1901 to 1902.
The twins left Locomobile at the end of 1899, and had a new design steam runabout ready for market late in 1901. The car was well received, and by 1905 more than 1,000 had been built. The familiar “coffin-nose” hood appeared during 1904, and wheel steering was introduced the following year.
Known for their extraordinary acceleration, Stanley Steamers were also very successful in various sprints and speed trials around the country. At Ormond Beach in 1906, Fred Marriott drove the streamlined Stanley Rocket racer to an unbelievable 127.66mph for the flying measured mile, thereby securing the world’s land speed record, a mark that still stands for steam.
This particular EX Runabout underwent a very meticulous restoration, and was a National First Prize Winner in 1986 and a Grand National Winner in 1989 in the Antique Automobile Club of America. It was purchased by Mr. Wiseman from a gentleman who had acquired it in 1994 from a private collection in Colorado. The car was subsequently restored to a very high standard, and was frequently used through 2001. On its 100th anniversary in 2006, the car was shown at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The boiler was refurbished in the late 1990s while the car was fitted with a new fuel tank and sump screen. The main burner, pilot burner, and jet assembly were professionally rebuilt as well.
The overall condition of the car remains outstanding as it is of show quality throughout. The body is finished in the proper livery of Brewster Green with black accents and cream-colored running gear, suspension, steering components, and pin striping. The paint is virtually flawless and the pin striping was professionally applied. Brass has been used extensively, from the headlamps and oil-fired, cowl-mounted coach lamps to the various trim pieces. The black leather upholstery of the front and mother-in-law seats has been professionally fitted to show quality standards and features a diamond button tuft pattern. The leather has been very well maintained and is devoid of any signs of wear.
The quality of the undercarriage and suspension components are consistent with the balance of the car and exhibit spectacular workmanship, from the refinished underbody to the polished brass components. The car reportedly runs and drives perfectly. It is accompanied by ‘Instructions for Firing Up and Running the Stanley Steam Car’, detailed restoration photos, and an outline of specific starting procedures.
Although Stanley’s best-seller when new, the Model EX is seldom seen today. Attractively finished in green with brass accents, this Runabout represents a chance to acquire an excellent, show quality example of a rare steam automobile.
AddendumPlease note that this vehicle is titled as a 1905. The serial number is 2101.
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