8-9 October 2009
1909 Stanley Model E2 Runabout
- Chassis no. 4620
Sold for $176,000
Although not the most prolific steam car, the Stanley is certainly the best-known and longest-lived, having stayed in production for three decades. It enjoys the highest profile for being the first car to climb Mt. Washington, New England’s highest peak, for setting the world’s land speed record in 1906 and for its iconic “coffin nose.”
It is the fastest of those coffin-nose cars – the Model H Gentleman’s Speedy Roadsters and Model K Semi-Racers – that first come to mind, but it was the smaller 10-horsepower cars that were the company’s bread-and-butter models. The various iterations of the Model E, built from 1905 to 1909, totaled more than 1,200 cars, far more than the 20-horsepower Model F and vastly beyond the sporting H and K, which together comprised only 138.
The Model E of 1905 was a compact 2-4 seater on an 84-inch wheelbase. A folding rear seat enabled conversion from four-seat capacity to a two-seater with a flat cargo area. Priced at $850, it was barely half the price of a “big Stanley,” and just $50 more than a Model C Ford. In 1906 the wheelbase was lengthened to 90 inches and the car re-designated “EX.” Finally, for 1909, the wheelbase was stretched a further ten inches, to 100, and the car was renamed E2, but the price did not change. It was still $850. Not surprisingly, they sold like hotcakes, with 475 delivered in 17 months.
This time warp Stanley was originally purchased by Barney and Berry, Inc., a Springfield, Massachusetts manufacturer of roller skates. It was used in business until replaced by another vehicle, then stored away in a barn. Discovered many years later, it was purchased by a Massachusetts collector. It was subsequently sold to David Ault of Wayne, Maine, from whom John Moir purchased it in 1981.
Virtually unchanged since it was built, the car has been considered “too good to restore” by many enthusiasts and has served as an authentic reference for restoration of many other cars. The car is all in original condition, with vestigial hints of the original green paint visible on the wood body. The fenders are thin strips of bent wood, and are unmarred. The black leather seats are entirely original and well preserved, with the exception of the bottom front cushions, which have been covered to prevent further deterioration. The brass lighting is all correct and unblemished, though tarnished.
It was put into running order by replacing the boiler with a modern reproduction, although the original is included with the car. The burner was rebuilt and the car has participated in several high-profile events, including the centennial observance of F.O. Stanley’s first ascent of Mt. Washington in 1999. It served as the model for Ken Dallison artwork on a 12-cent U.S. postage stamp issued in 1985. It also was featured at the 2006 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it proved a spectators’ favorite, particularly on the Friday tour for steam cars. It was readied for the Amelia show in the workshops of the Stanley Museum and is planned to be operating at time of the sale.
Included with the car are a small collection of spare parts, a correct brass spotlight and an assortment of memorabilia. The latter includes items from the 2006 Amelia Island event, the First Day of Issue for the Stanley stamp, original 1909 Stanley catalog and steam car operating instructions and a copy of the original Massachusetts registration certificate from 1910.
AddendumPlease note this car is being sold on a Bill of Sale Only.
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