To be Offered at Bonhams' The Amelia Island Auction, 5 Mar 2020, 12:00 EST, Fernandina Beach Golf Club.
Believed to the last known surviving White steam car before the switch over to gasoline power
1910 White Model 0-0 5-Passenger Touring
Chassis no. 10347
Engine no. 1070
2-Cylinder Compound (High/Low) Steam Engine
Water-Tube Flash Boiler
Approx. 20bhp. Sold $80000.00
4-Wheel Leaf Spring
Rear Drum Brakes
*A highly authentic and original example of a well renowned model
*Formerly owned by Dick Wells for 25 years
*Sympathetically maintained and routinely steamed up
*Previously regularly driven on tours
THE WHITE STEAMER
White Steamers were manufactured in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1900 until 1910 by the White Motor Company. Thomas White and William Grout had gone into business as a manufacturer of sewing machines in Massachusetts before the Civil War, later moving the firm to Ohio. Around 1900, White's sons Rollin, Windsor, and Walter entered the steam automobile industry, producing four automobiles and one truck. Rollin White had already invented the semi-flash boiler, at that time an important advancement in steam technology. According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, the firm had produced 193 vehicles in 1901. In 1906, White's automobile division began operating separately from its parent sewing machine business. White steamers were of excellent quality, and many were purchased by prominent individuals, including President Taft and John D. Rockefeller. In fact, a White was the only automobile present in the 1905 inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1910, White made a successful foray into the manufacture of gasoline-powered vehicles, selling nearly as many of those as it had of steam cars. The numbers were fairly even again in 1911, but that was the final year for White steamers. By 1911, White had handily surpassed Stanley as the largest manufacturers of steam automobiles, delivering over 9,000 examples to Stanley's total of 5,200, despite costing significantly more.
White steamers featured a complex, "Compound" two-cylinder system in which water was flash-heated in a boiler, then compressed in one cylinder, and then injected into a second cylinder at high pressure. White steamers also used a rear transaxle that incorporated two forward speeds plus neutral; the neutral allowed an operator to warm up the car at rest. In 1918, when White ceased production of automobiles to concentrate on commercial trucks, it had produced more than 9,000 steam-powered cars. Although many were built, White steamers are rarely seen today. Whites are viewed by many as the finest of the early steam cars, well-built and costly when new, and greatly appreciated today.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This Model O-O is presented from a stable of exceptionally high-quality early automobiles, each selected with the utmost care for correctness and originality. It is quite common for steam cars to have been revived from a modest basis of spares, but far rarer to find a pure, original example such as the car on offer. To judge from the car's condition today, it appears to have been sympathetically owned and only lightly restored over time, viewing it is a rewarding exercise.
The bodywork, finished in an understated white over black scheme is original, beneath the front passenger seat its body construction number can be found, 00941, and while some of the more used front seating has been retrimmed carefully, the rear door panels reveal themselves to be the original leather finish. The beauty of authentic cars is in the detail that they retain, and the White can be seen to still have features such as its original supply plate, kicker plates on the entry points on the front seating area and even its windshield still has its maker plaque confirming the existence of an entity long forgotten – The Troy Carriage Sun Shade Company of Troy, Ohio.
That the car survives so well 110 years after it was built in this fine order is testament to a simple chain of ownership, which the White Steam Car Registry cites a mere handful of custodians for the car, being Ollie Hall, Emmett Tucker, Charlie Kulchar and then Dick Wells in 1991 from whom the current owners acquired it in 2016. In its last ownership, Mr. Wells routinely used the car, steaming her up for a number of tours and as purchased it was in ready to use order.
This is recorded as the highest listed number in the sequence of these cars, in theory making it the last that was built/supplied – a notable claim and landmark in the story of White as they moved away from steam to petrol cars.Footnotes
Estimate- US$ 125,000 - 175,000
£ 98,000 - 140,000
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