1909 Stanley Steamer Model E2

Chassis Num: 4620
Sold for $176,000 at 2009 RM Sothebys.
The Stanley twins, Francis E. and Freelan O., from Kingfield, Maine, were extraordinary Yankee inventors whose abilities were nearly complementary. Their first fortune was made by improving a photographic dry plate process. With money and time they turned to steam cars as early as 1897. Never as elegant as the White steam cars, they were good enough so the twins were able to sell the factory in 1899 for $250,000. From 1901 until 1925, the Stanley Motor Carriage Co. made 10,390 cars in 66 models.

The Stanley steam car is certainly the best-known and longest-lived of its kind, having stayed in production for three decades. It was the first car to climb Mt. Washington, New England's highest peak. In 1906, it set a world's land speed record at over 100 MPH.

The Model E was produced from 1905 through 1909, with more than 1,200 examples produced. This small, 10-horsepower car was the company's bread-and-butter. The Model H and the Model K Semi-Racers were some of the fastest of the coffin-nose steam cars. The low production Model K, F, and H together comprised of only 138 units, making them highly desirable by the modern day collector.

In 1905, the Model E rested on a 84-inch wheelbase and had seating for 2 to 4 passengers. By folding the rear seat, the back could be converted to a two-seater with a flat cargo area. Pricing began at $850 which made it just $50 more than a Model C Ford.

The following year, the wheelbase was extended to 90 inches and the car re-designated the 'EX.' By 1909, the wheelbase had been stretched to 100 inches and was re-named to the E2, however, the price did not change. It still sold for just $850. Over the 17 month period, there were 475 examples produced.

The original purchaser of this E2 Runabout was Barney and Berry, Inc., a Springfield, Massachusetts manufacturer or roller skates. The car was used for business until it was later replaced by another vehicle. It was then put into storage in a barn, not to be discovered for many years. It was purchased by a Massachusetts collector who later sold it to David Ault of Wayne, Maine, from who the current owner purchased it in 1981.

The car is in unrestored condition and considered 'too good to restore.' There are hints of the original green paint visible on the wood body. The black leather seats are entirely original and well preserved, with the exception of the bottom front cushions.

The car is in running order. The original boiler was replaced with a modern reproduction, although the original unit is still with the car.

This 10 hp Model E-2 rides on a 100-inch wheelbase and has a 70.5-cubic inch, 2-cylinder engine. It was built in Newton, MA, and sold new for $850. It burns kerosene to make steam, but starts on white gas. This car is unrestored and mostly original.

In 2009, this Runabout was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was expected to sell for $50,000 - $80,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $176,000, including buyer's premium.
Chassis Num: 284
Sold for $63,250 at 2010 RM Sothebys.
For most Americans, the Stanley was synonymous with the steam car. The Stanley brothers - Francis E. and Freelan O. - entered the automobile business in 1901 with the Stanley Steam Carriage Company.

Despite the increasing popularity of the internal combustion engine, the Stanley automobile found a loyal - but dwindling - customer base. Stanley's chief competitor for the steam market was White (which switched to internal combustion motors in 1911). Interestingly, the Stanley brothers didn't believe in advertising but finally began doing so in 1917 when sales began to decline, thanks - in part - to the introduction of the self-starter on the internal combustion motor.

This Stanely is has been largely reconstructed. In the early 1970s, it was in the care of R.T. Reynolds of Auburn, Maine. By 1973, it was owned by George Sprowl, Sr. of Searsmont, Maine. Sprowl constructed a new body for the car and fitted it with a new boiler. It was also given a new stainless steel boiler.

Years later, the car was sold to Carl Amsley in Pennsylvania. Amsley performed some minor maintenance on the vehicle before selling it to Arthur Whiting in Vermont. Mr. Sichel, the current owner of the vehicle, acquired the vehicle around 2003.

In 2010, the car was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $60,000 - $80,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $63,250 including buyer's premium.
Chassis Num: 4520
High bid of $75,000 at 2013 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
Sold for $49,500 at 2016 RM Sothebys.
The Stanley steam car was available in six models for 1909. The Model E2 was powered by a 10-hosrepower, twin-piston engine employing just 13 moving parts.

This particular example was rescued by a former Stanley employee named Ralph Van Dine in the early 1940s. This was one of the numerous old Stanleys that were resurrected in the gas-rationing days of World War II. Van Dine soon passed the car in 1948 to J.D. Van Sciver Jr., and while it was in his care, it was repainted the present shade of chartreuse. Cameron Peck eventually purchased the Stanley, later selling it to S.D. Jarvis of Illinois. Following Jarvis's 1953 passing, his son, Vernon, inherited this runabout, along with the family's other antique cars. The collection continued to grow over the years and was eventually established as the Early American Museum at Silver Springs, Florida, where the Stanley remained for over three decades.

The bulk of the Jarvis Collection was sold in 1987 to Robert Bahre, who soon thereafter passed the Stanley to another collector, with whom it remained for a quarter-century.

This Model E2 has recently been returned to running and driving order. It continues to wear its Van Sciver repaint, with more recently refinished fenders and older restored black upholstery. This is an authentic vehicle except for the wheels - when the car was found in the early 1940s, the current size of tires was not available.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
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