To be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sotheby’s Hershey event, October 5-6, 2017.
Though Stanley Steamer has become a part of American automotive language, Stanley Steam Car is the preferred nomenclature of any Stanley owner. The Stanley brothers, identical twins who went by their initials, F.E. and F.O., set about building what was without a doubt the most famous automobile that used steam power to propel itself down the road. The Stanley was built in Massachusetts from 1899 to 1927, although the brothers retired from the company in 1917 while in their sixties. The Stanley was a beautifully engineered car that operated in virtual silence compared to gasoline-engine cars. It was the invention of the electric self-starter on gasoline automobiles more than any single item that spelled doom for the steam car.
The Stanley Model 735 was introduced in 1918. It brought to market a condensing boiler that offered greater range prior to having to stop for a refill—an obvious disadvantage to earlier models. Coils located in a traditional-style front-mounted radiator were part of a closed loop system whereby steam was returned to the boiler instead of being released into the atmosphere. The Model 735 became the most successful of all Stanley models with more than 1,700 sold over the model run.
This 1922 Stanley Model 735B touring is both a rare and interesting car . . . with a legend to match! Eric Massiet du Biest, a Frenchman, was determined to circumvent the earth while driving a steam car. As such, he selected this steamer, which was mechanically restored in 1992. He christened it “Passepartout” as an homage to the valet who accompanied Phineas Fogg in Jules Verne’s epic novel Around the World in 80 Days. He successfully completed his adventure, which is chronicled in the January–March 1993 issue of Bulb Horn. In 2009 the car was sold to a French engineer who completed a cosmetic and mechanical restoration, including improving upon the original boiler system to operate on gasoline, thus rendering the car more drivable and reliable.
Despite having abundant nicks and chips, the patina of this worn but proven Stanley is both appealing and charming. While no show queen, it will no less be the star wherever it appears while providing fun for both the driver and six of his or her friends.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/.
For instructions on how to add to our community's blog post, please visit our Get Involved page by clicking on the link above!