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Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: Donald Cook (
Date: June 24, 2011 05:36PM

I am sure we have all had annoying questions like:-

Where do you put the coal?

What’s its top speed?

How much is it worth?

But we also get some amusing questions from the general public which I thought it might be fun to share.

At a recent steam rally I was blowing down the boiler on our Stanley when a chap walked through the cloud of steam, (getting his trousers wet in the process), came up to me and said: - is this car powered by STEAM?

At a car show last weekend a chap asked me if it was correct that Stanleys held the world record for over 100 years for a car at the highest altitude?


Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: (
Date: June 27, 2011 02:02AM

This last week, at the June tour on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a intelligent looking fellow asked if I had bought our 1911 Stanley touring new. Now I know that he wasn't really intelligent as he looked. A photo of our 1911 Stanley and wife Merrily is attached

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 06/27/11 02:07AM by SSsssteamer.

Attachments: 2011 June Tour 1911 Stanley and Merrily.jpg (65kB)  
Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: SUPER7591 (
Date: June 30, 2011 06:49PM

A Stanley by any other name! We have a stand at the Driffield Agricultural Show to promote our rally and the East Riding Engine Club, I took the Stanley Model M last year and I was asked by a gentleman, what make of car is it? its a stanley I replied. No who made it? It was made in Newton, Massachusetts by Stanley brothers, getting more agitated he said your not listeneing to what I'm asking - who manufactured the car , you know like Ford or Daimler or Mecedes? By this time I could see the problem, so I started again, it was made in America by a company called Stanley, they were twin brothers, Still with disbelief on his face I had to explain that the car wasn't called Stanley as a pet name, but it still took ages to convince him because he said he knew all about cars and had never heard of a Stanley!

Harold Bell

Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: Donald Cook (
Date: July 5, 2011 05:03PM

This week’s prize for the most amusing question has to go to the lady who asked me about the controls on our Stanley.

Not knowing what any of them did, she pointed to the steering wheel and said “I know what that is”. She then looked at the Traction Engine that we were parked next to and its chain steering arrangement. See then pointed at my whistle chain hanging from the steering post and asked “when the steering wheel is turned does that chain turn the wheels?


Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: Mark Drake (62.189.28.---)
Date: July 7, 2011 08:05AM

Hi All,

I had an interesting experience in May when I took the 740 Roadster to its first show, a Vintage and Classic do in Stroud – I’ll try to relate it the way it happened.

A chap and his friend walk over to the car:

Punter: “So, what’s this then?”
Me: “It’s a 1922 Stanley Steamer.”
Punter: “Oh – steamer eh?” then, after a pause: “So what’s it run on then?”
Me: “It burns mostly diesel.”
Punter: “ Didn’t know they made diesels back then…”
Me: “It isn’t a diesel, it’s a steam car.”
Punter: “But you just said it was diesel!”
“No, it burns diesel to make steam.”
“So it’s steam, not diesel.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Another long pause. “So where’s the coal then?”
“There isn’t any coal, it burns diesel.”
Punter: “But you just said it was steam!”
“It is steam. It just burns diesel ….." etc, etc.

We went around this loop several times and the fellow was getting more irate with each iteration, and I was getting prepared to duck if he lost it.

It is quite extraordinary how the link between steam and coal is so strong for some folk that the suggestion of any other fuelling method simply does not compute – similarly the idea that diesel fuel could be put to use in anything other than a diesel engine can lead to similar mental paralysis!

Unfortunately the chap left, stupefied as Dr Watson; the question of whether it was steam or diesel still unresolved in his mind.

Anyway, it was quite a good experience for me, and it reiterated the importance of remaining calm and composed – we’re all representatives of the Steam Car Club of Great Britain after all.

Mark Drake

Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: Donald Cook (
Date: July 29, 2011 07:49AM

Here are some more amusing questions that I was asked wile touring the Cotswold’s last week.

A lady came up to me and said:-

“What a beautiful car, you must spend an incredible amount of time working on it?”
Me: “yes I do”.
Lady: “Are you married?”
Me: “Yes” - (I thought I know what’s coming next, she will now ask me, how does your wife put up with it?) but no, she then said:
“That’s a pity; I was going to ask you to marry me”!!!

Such is the pulling power of a Stanley!

A chap asked me to explain to him how a Stanley made steam. I was part way through explaining how the vaporizer worked when he interrupted me and said:-

“That’s much too complicated for me; I will stick to my piston engine car”
So I replied: “A steam car has pistons”
Chap: “Why does it have pistons?”
Me: “The steam pushes the pistons back and forth, which turns the crankshaft, which then turns the wheels”
Chap: “I thought the steam came out the back and pushed the car along!


Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: SUPER7591 (
Date: July 31, 2011 08:03PM

Attended a Veterans weekend in Hull today and the public aren't used to seeing steam there so a steam car was difficult for many of then to take in, loads of silly questions came out, but a couple made me chuckle - I was stood at the side of the car when a young lad of about 12 years old stood to the left of me and asked where the engine was, I loosely pointed towards the back end between the running board and the body towards the engine and said thats it there, during this brief discussion there was also a gent to my right who had clearly heard what I had told the lad and saw me pointing. Following a lengthy pause he eventually said pointing to the battery box on the running board 'if thats the engine then what cc is it cos its only small' No thats not the engine it's further under - me pointing again, that big lump encased in the copper casing, Oh he said I thought that was the silencer its so quiet.Just after that I overheard a gent telling his wife that it was a steam turbine that drove it. later in the day I noticed a chap looking very inquisitevly into the headlamps, he turned to his wife and said can't see a bulb in there, then he looked again and said Oh! I see its got some candles in it.

Is it me, why do people feel the need to touch the car as soon as they see it, rubbing the gritty dust into the nicely polished paintwork and leaving finger marks all over the brassware!!

Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: (
Date: August 1, 2011 01:44AM

I was standing by E11 and joked the the small wheel is for LH turns the big wheel is for RH turns laughing while I said it.............and was believed. Rapid back pedal and explaining no no no the small wheel is the hand throttle. Took quite a bit of persuasion to convince the person the first explanation was wrong.

Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: barry herbert (Moderator)
Date: August 1, 2011 04:08PM


You should have said the small wheel is for small corners and the large one for large corners.


Re: Amusing questions from the public
Posted by: les nelson (
Date: August 10, 2011 12:08PM

Young lady comming home from school with mum
young L "I like your car Mr!"
me "Oh thats nice can you guess how old it is?"
young L "No Mr.
me "Well it is a 105 years old"
Y L "WOW thats very old! have you had it from new?"

And no comments from you lot thank you!!!

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