The following article is the Final Part of Steve Bragg’s story of his family’s restoration of their 1922 Model 740B Stanley Steam car.
Finally the big reveal day came on May 6. The previous weekend a local newspaper reporter came and interviewed my dad, mother, my wife and I. After 7 years, we had finished the car, so the reporter wanted to interview and take some pictures. All the effort, time and labour was honoured with a front page top center head line, Heflin Father and Son Restores a 1922 Stanley Steam Car. I'm really not sure what was the most rewarding, seeing my dad`s face as we were showing the car, hearing him talk about the thoughts of not getting around to restoring the car until we started or riding with him; which ever it was, the time together was central to what we had done. We spent a lot of time together and along the way, we brought back to life a piece of history. The newspaper article can be read here.
The last several weeks had been spent with the details of the top being completed, the interior being installed, mounting and installing the doors, and assembling the hood and trim.
For the interior, we choose a black grained leather, matching closely to the original.
The seat frames and springs were somewhat tired but mostly usable. Rust was removed, re-painted and reassembled while the upholsterer sewed the seat and door panels according to patterns I had made. We also put in a modern backing scrim for durability since we plan to tour the car. The most difficult item to find for the interior was an original style hidem welt to match the leather. A Wisconsin company recently started producing welt from the customer's leather and the results are very nice.
The carpet was selected to also match the original - a black wool German Square Weave was the best match.
The remaining work is to complete a set of side curtains, swap out the engines (the rebuilt one is almost ready to install), and complete the wooden framed windows to match the original.
On the day of the big reveal, 6 May, a crowd of almost 100 were waiting on the car as we pulled up to the Community Recreation Center. The local newspaper front page story had attracted many from our town and surrounding community. We were also celebrating my father's two aunt's birthdays. We had my great aunt Kathleen, aged 100 and 2 months, her young sister, Edith aged 88, and a Town Matriarch, Lorraine, aged 100 and 6 months, all assemble in front of the car for pictures.
They then loaded up and we road around our town. This was very special to hear them laugh and talk about riding in a car as old as them. We spent the day celebrating with a large family gathering, eating lunch and birthday cake, and giving rides to everyone who wanted one. After keeping "Effie" steamed up all day, we finally drove her home in the late afternoon.
Several things I have learned during this restoration: These types of work take much time, research and dedication. The devil is in the details which is, to me anyway, part of the fun. Researching the method or researching a part or process is all required. While there are expenses, I think that the main detriment to a project of this magnitude is the unknowns. There are clearly costs and sacrifices, time not spent doing something else, time not spent with a spouse, days off from work; but to every old car enthusiast, that is part of the passion.
I hope you have enjoyed my restoration story.
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