HomePick of the Day1911 Stanley Steamer

1911 Stanley Steamer


The Stanley Steamer has been treated to a thorough restoration, the seller says
The Stanley Steamer has been treated to a thorough restoration, the seller says

The Pick of the Day is a rare and valuable antique, an early 20th Century steam-powered touring car that would fit right in at the Big Dog Garage of Jay Leno, who is well-known as a steam-car enthusiast.

The 1911 Stanley Steamer offered by a classic car dealer in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is said to be in tip-top condition and ready to hit the road whenever it builds up a head of steam.

“This fully-restored 1911 Stanley Steamer is not only great to look at, it also is a blast to drive,” the dealer says in the ClassicCars.com listing. “A Steamer expert has just gone over the mechanical/steam components of the car confirming that it is top running condition.”

The driver better know which faucet wheel to twist
The driver better know which wheel to twist

The Stanley Motor Carriage Company built steam cars starting in 1902 when steam engines were considered just as viable for powering an automobile as a troublesome internal-combustion engine or short-range electric motor. However, by 1911, internal-combustion cars with much-improved engines and soon with electric starters were taking over, though the Newtown, Massachusetts, automaker soldiered on with its popular, upscale steam models until the end came in 1924.

Collectors today find Steamers both fun and challenging, though their charm is undeniable.

“Nothing is more fun than hearing the chug-chug of this vehicle going down the road or its air whistle,” the seller says.

The car is completely restored and immaculate, according to the seller, who adds, “This 1911 Stanley looks like it just came out of the showroom back in 1911.”

Although the Stanley looks black in these photos, it’s actually dark green with black trim and a yellow undercarriage and wheels, which are pinstriped, and black-leather seating for four,

Taillights were not a priority in 1911
Taillights were not a priority in 1911

“The paint is in virtually perfect condition,” the seller says. “The interior upholstery was all redone in black leather, and looks, feels and smells as new.”

The asking price for the historic Stanley is $149,900, plus you’d better be ready to spend money on maintenance performed by the dwindling number of experts in steam-powered cars. But for those ready for the commitment and who can afford it, the enjoyment of this piece of arcane machinery should be boundless.

The seller has supplied a short video of the Stanley Steamer in action, which you can access by clicking here.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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