Sold for $203,500 at 2014 RM Auctions
Undoubtedly the most famous of the marks to power an automobile by steam, Stanley was the brainchild of twin brothers F.E. and F.O. Stanley. But like all others, the brothers would be pushed in the quest for greater speed. Therefore, the Stanley Model H-5 would have to be considered the greatest of all the Stanley Steam Cars.
The Stanley Motor Carriage Company's beginnings would be when the brothers sold their photographic dry plate business to Eastman Kodak in the late 1800s. This would lead to the brothers establishing their automobile company and building their first car in 1897.
Heading into the 20th century, the internal combustion engines were still beginning to come into their own. However, it was clear the writing was on the wall for steam power. Nonetheless, against this backdrop, Stanley would produce perhaps its best.
In 1918, Freelan O. Stanley, following the untimely death of his brother Francis E, would sell interests in the company to Prescott Warren. Just a decade before this, the company would be busy building its H-5 called the Gentleman's Speedy Roadster of which chassis 4099 is one.
Considered the sportiest and most powerful, the Speedy Roadster would produce around 20hp with its dry-running engine. Only a very few of the Model H-5 chassis remain making 4099 one of the most exclusive of all Stanley automobiles.
Though its early history is unknown, what is known is that its current owner commissioned a complete restoration. The work would include rebuilding and reworking the Stanley's wooden bodywork. However, the work would include the leather upholstery, as well as, the brass trimming the car. When completed, the Stanley H-5 would be considered one of the best examples in the world. Literally, no detail would be left untouched and this would include restoring the original braking system and the car's finish.
Earning AACA First Junior, Senior and Grand National Awards, the 1908 Stanley Model H-5 would also go on to score a National Award at Philadelphia in 2011. This fine Stanley, then, remains one of the best examples of a Stanley Model H-5.
A regular across the country in a number of events, the 1908 Model H-5 remains a highlight wherever it can be seen. As a result, the car continues to represent the finest name in steam powered automobiles.
This 1908 Stanley Model H-5 Gentleman's Speedy Roadster would be made available for sale through RM Auctions' Hershey event in 2014. Offered from a prominent collection, and considered an exceptional example of a Stanley, this car is not only an award winner but an important piece of steam-powered history. Estimates prior to the auction would range between $80,000 and $120,000. Those involved in the bidding, however, would recognize the quality of the Model H-5 and the final sale price would reflect such a fact. When the bidding came to an end the final sale price would be an impressive $203,500.By Jeremy McMullen
Gentlemen's Speedy Roadster
This model of Stanley was directed to gentlemen buyers who desired a very fast, sporty car, and didn't need to transport a family or more than one passenger. No top, no windshield, no added weight. This vehicle tips the scales at a mere 2,335 lbs. curb weight, only 90 lbs. more than a 10 hp roadster. The equation translates to double the power with no obesity.
Those who have experienced the excitement of piloting this model on a spirited drive often describe the joy thereafter by referring to it as 'The Corvette of Stanleys.' Just as any true sports car wouldn't be as appealing with a back seat, a very sporty car owner in the early motoring era would not detract from the aesthetics by adding practical accoutrements such as a top or windshield. Only 99 Model Hs were built by Stanley between 1905-1909. Stanley produced approximately 11,000 vehicles between 1902-1926.