28 July 2012
From the Collection of William Ruger Jr.
1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau
- Chassis no. 6076
- Engine no. 6-685
Sold for $165,000
• One of the most authentic examples available
• Restoration and maintenance by Stanley experts
• Offered from the collection of William Ruger Jr.
The Fodor family, of Norwalk, Connecticut, is well-known in Stanley circles; one of the elder Fodors assembled a collection of cars and other oddities in the early part of the 20th century, which were inherited by his nephews and retained until the early-1990s. Chassis 6076 was liberated from its half-century slumber in the barn and was reported to have spent most of this time “buried in a pile of straw.” In 1994, the Dragone brothers, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, purchased the Stanley along with a Midland and a Rambler. Mr. George Dragone recently related that the car was still running in the 1940s and may have been owned in the family as early as the 1930s. He also stated that the Fodor family had letters from early collector James Melton, who made multiple unsuccessful attempts to acquire the car.
Mr. Christopher Hutchins, of Brewer, Maine, purchased 6076 and entrusted Paul Russell Co. to return her to original specification. Research and analysis of the best examples extant was performed, and the expertise of the most respected Stanley experts was utilized: coachwork was entrusted to Mark Herman, the boiler to Don Bourdon, upholstery to Mike Curley, and plumbing assistance was provided by Charlie Johnson. The original toy tonneau body was finished in Brewster Green with yellow wood-spoke wheels, chassis, and suspension. Original equipment includes Rushmore Searchlight headlamps with the correct Prest-O-Lite acetylene tank; the original E&J side lamps, taillight, and instrument light are powered by kerosene. The four passenger seats were reupholstered to the original pattern in black leather, and the top was recovered. Great resources were expended in ensuring that this example was finished as closely as possible to the way it was when it left the Stanley factory in Newton, Massachusetts 101 years ago.
In 1997, the Pebble Beach judges awarded 6076 a Second in Class, and in 1998, it successfully competed in the ‘Steaming through The Rockies’ rally, completing the tour without difficulty. After Bill Ruger Jr. acquired the car, he returned it to Don Bourdon for installation of a new superheater, boiler resealing, and reversible installation of an engine “beef up kit,” which included heavier connecting rods, crank throws, piston rods, and wrist pins, which corrected some inherent weaknesses in the 10 horsepower engines. Also installed by Don Bourdon was an invisible upgrade called an economizer, which builds steam faster by utilizing exhaust heat, and a new exhaust duct feedwater heater, which was not originally used in 1911 but was incorporated by Stanley in 10 horsepower cars by 1914.
Mr. Ruger states that he’s enjoyed driving this Stanley, especially because of its “light, easy handling.” This Stanley Model 63 retains its original single-fuel system for the pilot and main burner, which is simpler than later dual-fuel models and uses regular unleaded gasoline. Due to the care received since restoration, the finish of the upholstery, top, and paint, right down to the leaf spring pinstriping, remains exceptional. This Stanley is accompanied by written fire-up instructions and presents a plethora of concours and tour opportunities for its next owner. Thanks to Susan Davis and Jim Merrick from the Stanley Museum, Kelly Williams of the Stanley Register, and Kit Foster for their research assistance.
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