The final part of the story
The six year project of replicating the second car designed by F.E.'s son
Raymond W. Stanley and built by the factory for him is finished with the exception of wiring [it was originally electrified like the 1913-14 cars even though it was finished in 1912]. Martha and I participated on the Rhode Island Steam car Tour last summer and made the entire week with no problems. A few adjustments were made but other than that it ran well. Between chassis running and now with the body on and in full trim the odometer has recorded 2500 miles.
The car weighs in at a bit under 4100lbs. curb weight. Vital statistics include a 130 inch wheelbase, 57 gallon water tank, and 20 gallons fuel capacity. The long wheelbase and the weight contribute to outstanding ride quality. With fuel, water, and passengers [it will fit three if they are moderately sized] all past the center point of the wheelbase, weight distribution is very close to 50/50. This makes for an ideal handling car on curvy secondary roads. Simply put, this is one fun car to drive! It is not as "lively" as "Effie", the first special car designed and built for Raymond. That car did survive and I am the proud custodian of it. It is about 650 pounds lighter and final gearing is a bit higher. The first car was geared by the factory at 60-57 or .95 to 1. This one is 55-60 or 1.1 to 1 to help compensate for the added weight.
There was hardly anything about the build of this car that didn't require special engineering to achieve the very low profile. My son in law, Mark Herman, and one of his employees, Peter Kruger; deserve most of the credit for overcoming the numerous engineering problems. A special thanks to Steve Baldock and Basil Craske for designing and fabricating the special steering arms off the front axle and the arm that connects to the steering quadrant. These changes were necessary since the boiler and burner are well behind the front axle to prevent the burner from contacting the front axle on a bump. As a result the steering radius was very limited until Basil and Steve made longer ones from a special strong steel that matches the contour of the originals beautifully.
While we were blessed with many exterior pictures taken when the car was in it's prime [courtesy of Ray Stanley's original photo album and the Stanley Museum] there were no pictures of the inside detail of what the factory did to lower the car almost 9 inches compared to a typical production model.
When I decided to duplicate this car most Stanley people looked at the original pictures and said "Why would you want to do that car? It is ugly! The windscreen and disc covers over the wheels drew the most criticism. What I saw was the picture of Ray standing beside the car and the top of the door was the same height as the buttoned jacket at his waistline. I knew then that this car was extraordinarily low and might just be better looking in the "flesh" than the picture suggested. Although still controversial, the car draws many very favorable comments. When parked next to other Stanley's the car stands out since it is so much lower and a frequently asked question is "is it a racing model"?
This car and my other steamers will undoubtedly cover many more miles this summer starting with the Eastern Steam Car Tour at Lakeville, Connecticut the second week of July. Since driving a Stanley is my favorite pleasure, I have given up trailering to events. The cars are driven over the road, used all week, and driven home unless the tour is at least over 750 miles away, then I usually ship it and fly in for the tour. My trailer is now used strictly for retrieval purposes only when there is a break down I can't overcome on the road.
On July 4th 2017 Jay Leno gave the car its ultimate test.
"Jay Leno drove my Stanley "Ray's Car" up the mountain successfully without any trouble. Bill Barnes followed with his Vanderbilt Cup Racer and also had no problems. As expected, we did stop once to pump water into our boilers with a wheel jacked up. The production crew doing the filming consisted of 40 people, all very skilled and experienced. They had 12 cameras attached to my car and two of the film crew sat in the rear of a minivan facing rearward, so as to capture the event. Then there was the helicopter that flew directly above us capturing it all on film from above. It was an exciting day, and everyone enjoyed it, including Jay, who was very gracious and friendly in every way. The weather was perfect with the exception of the summit, where it was cloudy, windy, and cold. Two ramp trucks took both cars down without incident, and more filming was done when they were unloaded at the bottom.
"Jay drove Bill's Vanderbilt Cup Racer the day before and had to be impressed since it has a 30-H.P. engine, and his has only a 20. Bill's car is easily the fastest Stanley I have ever had the privilege to drive! Jay also rode one of Bill's steam motorcycles and must have liked it because he didn't return for over 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the film crew was not on hand to capture Jay on Bill's bike. All in all, it was an exciting day for everyone. The show, "Jay Leno's Garage," will air our climb to the clouds sometime in the fall. We will know exactly when beforehand."
On the same day as Jay Leno's climb, Lisa Cantor, accompanied by her husband Mark, drove their 10-H.P. Stanley to the top, becoming the second woman to pilot a steamer to the summit. Congratulations, ALL! Rest well, Flora and F.O., after 118 years.
Below are some mostly unseen photos of the restoration.