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Lot 631

1909 Stanley Model E2 Runabout

  • Chassis no. 4620

Sold for $176,000

10 hp double-acting two-cylinder steam engine, front and rear full-elliptic leaf spring suspension, solid front axle, live rear axle, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 100"

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.


Please note this car is being sold on a Bill of Sale Only.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

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Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more