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