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Long winded introduction
Posted by: (---.85-200-236.bkkb.no)
Date: May 22, 2010 10:15PM

Hello all,

Thought I would join up here and try and benefit from your expertise and experience. My name is Nick, (the user name is short for The Fat Controller, what I use on other forums and is a long story but might have something to do with my build!) and I live near Aberdeen, Scotland but work in the oil industry offshore.

I have always had an interest in old mechanical things, used to show stationary engines all over the UK, and have been involved with vintage vehicles for many years. I do not like modern cars but have to make an exception for my Land Rover Discovery which I use as a tow car and for getting out from home in the winter. I run old Saabs as everyday cars, and have one of most models from Saabs production up to and including the 9000.

My vintage interests currently are a 1930 Morris Cowley Trials Special, which I have owned for about 8 years, and a 1935 (OK, I know, it is Post Vintage!) Rolls Royce 20/25. I firmly believe in using the old cars, the Rolls will be making its second trip to Le Mans in France in July for the Classic 24hour, and covers between 5000 and 10000 miles a year.

I have also had an interest in "oddball" vehicles for a while, and amongst the collection is a 1957 Bedford "Green Goddess" self propelled pump, famous as being the stand in fire engines during strikes in the past.

I have much admired steam vehicles for many years, and thought long and hard about aquiring something one day. The option of a traction engine was considered, but ruled out as my main interest is touring and with the best will in the world these are not suitable. I then considered a truck or bus, but whilst some of these (like the later Sentinels) might be possible, the need for a co-driver again ruled it out.

Recently I have started thinking about a steam car, and perusing this site for a while, I am quite taken with the Stanley 735 as it would appear to be a practical proposition. The big problem is I know nothing much about steam cars, and before I start thinking seriously about a purchase, I really need to find out more. To my knowledge, there are no steam cars in the vicinity of my abode, and travelling hundreds of miles to knock on the door of a steam car owner unannounced is probably not the best of plans.

So I thought I would start here. A few questions, if you would be so kind.

Is it a practcal proposition to use a steam car for (relatively) long distance motoring? I am thinking of journeys to a couple of hundred miles in a day (most of the bigger shows are in the central belt, and I would rather drive than tow!) plus the occasional foray into Europe.

Would the Stanley 735 be suitable for this?

What is a realistic cruising speed of these cars? I am not worried about performance per se, but for example the Rolls cruises happily at 45-50mph and at that speed large distances can be covered. The cowley cruises about 40 and so is not so suited.

Are there other makes/models equally/better/nearly as well suited I should be considering?

Well, I have rambled on enough, thank you (I hope) for taking the time to respond to a newbie to the steam world.

Nick

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Jeff Theobald (Moderator)
Date: May 23, 2010 03:27AM

Hi Nick,
Thank you for placing your post on our forum, I'm sure it will bring some interesting replies, we do have a member in Aberdeen who happens to own a Stanley 740 (almost identical to a 735) if you wish I can pass your request directly to him to see if he would like to help.

I have two Stanley 735's and have done quite a few miles in this style of car, they will cruise above 40mph but only when everything is set right, and the terrain is favourable, although the Stanley manual talks about getting in excess of 100 miles to a tank of water, again it is possible, but is more the exception than the rule, I hope you join our band of owners of cars that have life of their own, I've always said, "Every mile's an adventure, you never know quite what there going to do next".

Having two 735's is silly as I tend to favour one more than the other, so may consider selling my 1919 model, pity you are not closer, as we are steaming in the local area today, you would have been welcome to join us and get your first taste of this fantastic hobby,

all the best, Jeff,

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: (---.85-200-236.bkkb.no)
Date: May 23, 2010 08:33PM

Thank you for the reply Jeff

I would indeed be grateful if you would pass on my request, it would be good to see one close up!

Where abouts are you located Jeff? If the offer stands, one weekend when I am at home (currently on a boat in the Ekofisk field off Norway) I would very much like to join you if you are steaming. Travelling the length of the country is something you have to get used to when you live so far North, I will be at the Chipping Steam Fair near Preston next (bank holiday) weekend. I shall have a 1937 Austin 12 with me (delivering it to Whitby on Monday) but had planned to take a Saab.I am not quite that mad, the Austin will be going in my transporter!

Thanks again

Nick

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Jeff Theobald (Moderator)
Date: May 24, 2010 08:23AM

Hi Nick,

OK, I have sent a request to the member near you, let me know how you get on.

We are based in Haslemere, Surrey, check out the web site for contact details, If you mean this coming bank holiday (31st May) we are at home, but would welcome an excuse to steam.

all the best, Jeff.

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Mark Drake (62.189.28.---)
Date: May 24, 2010 09:23AM

Hi Nick,

It sounds like you have a well established and broad interest in quite a number of vehicle types! If you do get yourself a steam car, prepare to not have time for anything else… Nevertheless, a big welcome to this wonderful hobby.

I am passionate about steam cars and have owned a Stanley 5 seat 735 Touring for five years now and can honestly say my only regret was not getting one sooner; the pleasure of driving almost silently around country lanes behind the power of steam is difficult to describe. I frequently use the car to drive to work, around 17 miles, and steam most weekends in the summer for day trips with the family.

However, its fine seeing steam cars through ‘steam tinted’ spectacles but be prepared for a certain amount of work and expense also. The steam car is a rather labour intensive vehicle (I’m sure other Vintage cars are too) and the learning curve can seem to go on forever. It’s fair to say that these wonderful cars have their weaknesses and the more you use them the more they require attention or repair. If you’re happy to rise to the challenge, then you’ll find that the payback is enormous!

To answer your questions:
The furthest I’ve driven in a day was 135 miles, which was easily and comfortably achieved, but 60 or so miles on a day trip is fairly normal for us. The water range is very variable – from my experience, the faster you go the worse the range as everything gets hot and you can’t recover the exhaust condensate. In the last few years I’ve configured my car for non condensing (concerns about oil in the boiler) and I always get just under 20 miles per fill. When it was condensing, I could get about 40 miles per fill.

In general, I cruise at around 35 – 40 mph and both the car and I are happy with this speed. A good level of maintenance generally means that you can do this repeatably. Unfortunately each water stop which should take 5 minutes usually takes ˝ hour as there’s often tea, biscuits and photographs involved…

There’s a fair amount of detail and subtlety to running a steam car successfully, but be assured that you’ll find it more absorbing than you ever imagined.

If you ever find yourself in the Gloucester area, I would be very happy to give you some first hand experience with a 735 – I’m afraid that the car isn’t for sale for the foreseeable future because it’s just so darn good! Jeff will give you my private email if you request it from him.

Good luck with your endeavours,

Mark Drake

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: (---.85-200-236.bkkb.no)
Date: May 24, 2010 10:13PM

Thank you for the input Mark, much appreciated, ditto again to Jeff. It willnot be this weekend Jeff, I shall be at Chipping, in fact it is likely to be the second half of August before I can work in a trip south.

I am fortunate that in my job I tend to work about 150 days a year, although at present owning and running a classic car garage (www.20cc.com) as well takes up a great deal of time. I am currently selling the garage, and once that has gone should have enough time to consider a time consuming hobby!

Just for info, a picture of my 1935 Rolls which I will be taking to Le Mans again in July (if this works, computers are not my forte!)



and another of it on the Mulsanne Straight in 2008:


Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Old timer (86.112.82.---)
Date: May 25, 2010 12:02PM

Hi Nick,
I like your Rolls Royce it is very smart. My Great Grandfather ran a 1917 Stanley 730 ( a bit like a 735) and with a condensing stanley you don't get as far with the water. If you want to do long tours get yourself a White. You can do 300-400 miles on a tank of water on a good day and my Great Uncle can get steam up from lighting the main burner in 1-2 mins, compared to the Stanley which is about 30mins. Not saying the Stanleys are bad, but if you want to go long distances a White might be easier. Old Timer

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Old timer (86.112.82.---)
Date: May 25, 2010 12:10PM

Hi again Nick,
I forgot to say if you are new into the hobby, most of my family's first steam cars were Runabouts. These are usually pre 1905. You can get about 20mpg on a tank of water and there is usually not much weather protection, but they are good starter cars and are easy to get around.You could also to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run with it, as long as it was VCC dated. My Grandfather has a 1900 Mobile, which he has had for 22 years. He has had great fun with the car, but is currenty rebuilding the engine, the first time for 15-20 Years ( I think!).
Old Timer

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: (---.wavecable.com)
Date: May 25, 2010 02:26PM

On my 1914 model 606 Stanley roadster with a 23" boiler and a Baker burner, it usually fires to a rolling start in 5 minutes or less. A couple of years ago at a Tom Marshall Delaware tour, from first lighting my torch, I got it rolling from cold with only a half a boiler of water in only 3 1/2 minutes. I got it on video to prove it. That is a very fast firing from cold for a Stanley. With our three Stanleys that have 30 hp boilers in them, it usually take about 15 minutes from cold from first lighting the pilot to rolling. If you want a fast firing steamer, buy a Doble. I have seen the Doble from cold to rolling time in just about 30 seconds. I have never seen a White fire up very fast at all. Seems that the Whites have the same problems as the Stanley in getting their pilot lights preheated enough. If you leave your pilot light burning hot enough, then it is almost immediate to rolling down the road with the Stanley. On the larger noncondensing Stanleys, adding an extra water tank can extend your water distance too. Some of the guys that have added extra tanks say that their goal is to be able to travel 100 miles between water fillings. Typically 1 mile/ gallon is the norm for a 20 hp noncondensing Stanley. With our noncondensing model 606 Stanley, driving at 25 mph, I can get almost twice the water mileage that I will get while driving it at 60 mph.

Re: Long winded introduction
Posted by: Tom Dawson (---.cpe.metrocast.net)
Date: May 25, 2010 07:28PM

PAT:

I have a 1910 Stanley Model 70 with a Baker burner. The burner has just been rebuilt and is ready to go. Do you think that I can steam up in a few (5-10 min.) with my car. I have heard that the Baker burner is an excellent burner for some things. This sounds great. I will give it a try!!! TOM

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