Lot 286 - 1917 Stanley 20hp Mountain Wagon
|Chassis Number||OR 49443|
|Estimate||£58,000 - £68,000|
Twin brothers Francis E. Stanley and Freelan O. Stanley founded the company after selling their photographic dry plate business to Eastman Kodak. They produced their first car in 1897, and during 1898 and 1899, they produced and sold over 200 cars; more than any other American maker. In 1899, Freelan and his wife Flora drove one of their cars to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the north eastern United States. The ascent took more than two hours and was notable as being the first time a car had climbed the 7.6 miles long Mount Washington Carriage Road; the descent was accomplished by putting the engine in low gear and braking extensively. The twins later sold the rights to this early design to Locomobile, and in 1902 they formed the Stanley Motor Carriage Company. Early Stanley cars had light wooden bodies mounted on tubular steel frames by means of full-elliptic springs. Steam was generated in a vertical fire-tube boiler, mounted beneath the seat, with a vaporising petrol (later, kerosene) burner underneath. The boiler was reinforced by several layers of piano wire wound around it, which gave it a strong, yet relatively light-weight, shell. In early models, the vertical fire-tubes were made of copper, and were expanded into holes in the upper and lower crown sheets. In later models, the installation of a condenser caused oil-fouling of the expansion joints, and welded steel fire-tubes were used instead. The boilers were safer than one might expect - they were fitted with safety valves, and even if these failed, a dangerous overpressure would rupture one of the many joints long before the boiler shell was in danger of bursting, and the resulting leak would relieve the boiler pressure and douse the burner with little risk to the occupants of the car. There has never been a documented case of a Stanley boiler exploding in use. The engine had two double-acting cylinders side-by-side, equipped with slide-valves, and was of the simple-expansion type. Drive was transmitted directly from the engine crankshaft to a rear-mounted differential by means of a chain. Later, to overcome patent difficulties with the design they had sold to Locomobile, the Stanley brothers developed a new automobile model with twin cylinder engines geared directly to the back axle. Later models had aluminium coachwork that resembled internal combustion cars of the time but retained many of the steam car features; for example no transmission, clutch, or driveshaft.
This Stanley Mountain Wagon was purchased in 2006 by the vendor's father, a collector of steam engines, from a private collection in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. On its arrival in the United Kingdom, a mechanical restoration was carried out and a new boiler made and fitted. This very unusual car is fitted with a body that is able to carry nine people in the style of a period Mountain Wagon. This type of vehicle was used in the mountains in the early 1900's to take holidaymakers from the railway station up to the mountain lodge; steam cars were still used as petrol engines were not yet powerful enough to cope with the steep mountain roads and high altitudes. Finished in blue with black wings and black seats, this steamer is ready to use and is supplied with a V5C registration document and boiler inspection certificate; the last being dated 11th May 2010. Stanley Steamers very rarely come on to the market, and this is an opportunity to purchase such a car that only requires cosmetic restoration.