The following article is Steve Bragg’s story of his family’s restoration of their 1922 Model 740B Stanley Steam car.
The story of this car is a long one but I first saw this car in the mid-1970s. My dad purchased the car from the estate of Mr. George Howland, originally of Asbury Park New Jersey. Mr Howland was a chemical engineer who graduated from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1925. He resided in Alabama from 1930s to the late 1940s when he moved to Atlanta GA. The car had a 1935 Pennsylvania Inspection Sticker on it, so I assumed that he did not purchase the car while he lived in PA. The car was last licensed in Ohio in 1946 (last tag for the car and it was still on it when I got the car). The car was said to have been driven to Atlanta in 1946, it was also supposedly wrecked, possibly on this drive.
There is no evidence he ever registered the car in Georgia. When Mr. Howland died in 1976, he still owned the house in Atlanta but lived in my hometown in Alabama, about 75 miles from Atlanta.
My father and uncle had gotten to know Mr and Mrs Howland and after his passing, they assisted Mrs. Howland with several things and she agreed to sell this car to my dad. My uncle was able to acquire their other Stanley. My father held onto his car, despite Mr. Carl Amsley coming to Alabama with a truck and trailer to purchase the car, without ever contacting my father about selling the car beforehand. My father refused to sell, whilst my uncle did sell his car later to a collector in Oklahoma who did restore the car.
My dad’s car sat in his workshop from the purchase until a shop fire in 1999. It was luckily spared significant damage but was moved to another storage location until I got the car in 2009. My plan was for my dad and I to restore the car together. We started in September 2009.
The car had substantial damage to the body and frame, including a repaired section of the front driver side of the frame. Mr. Howland was also a very tall man (I managed to locate his nephew, he never had children) according to his nephew (about 6’6” or 7”). This is also evidenced by modifications to the car such as lowering the from seat frame by about 4 inches and removing the air tank to the back of the front seat (where jump seats would be located). He had also moved the condenser forward about 6 inches, removing the front condenser cowl and custom making replacement metal.
The tear down and restoration is documented in a series of photos and Videos both in this article and in more depth in the media section of this site and also on this sites YouTube channel.
Steve has his own YouTube channel (sbragg000)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/FullSteamAheadDownSouth/) page called Full Steam Ahead Steve Bragg.
The Chassis and all mechanical parts were disassembled, inspected and repaired were necessary. The chassis was restored along with all parts and fittings.
An oversized 26-inch Bourdon Boiler and Burner was added along with an Earnst Boiler Sight glass. This required moving the front cross member forward two inches. The larger boiler also required fabrication of a new stainless steel bonnet, this was hand hammered around wooden forms, then insulated. The bonnet has an inner and outer shell per the original design.
The story is better told in the following photos,and videos.
Below we are testing the pilot, and then firing the burner.
We were satisfied that the burner and pilot would be OK when installed.
Major work was carried out on the engine...
The car came with a spare engine which had the same number as the engine installed in the car. I can only guess that when the car was ordered from the factory that a spare engine was also ordered and hence the same number was put on the spare to keep matching numbers on the car. Both engines are numbered 740-4099. Photos of both engine serial numbers are shown.
Photos of both engines and matching serial numbers are shown.
Below we are checking the pump pit is working correctly.
Below Doing an engine test using steam.
The engine needed a major rebuild after the frame rods broke during testing the car. We made and installed new from rods, refaced the valve seats fitted new piston rings, hard-chromed the piston rods and refurbished all other parts of the engine. We have a second engine still to be rebuilt.
Engine slide valves in motion.
My Mother inspecting some of my work.
The video below shows one of our many test runs.
Series 1 issue 2 will present part two of the restoration.
JERICE TALLEY ( JERICE.C.TALLEY@GMAIL.COM )
1/24/2017 07:34:54 pm SUPER job well done!