1909 Stanley Model R Roadster

Whoever called this car a Stanley Steamer wasn’t a friend of the Stanley brothers, as they hated that designation. It was a Stanley Steam Car, although Stanley Steamer has become a part of the American language. The brothers were identical twins who went by their initials, F.E. and F.O. They set about building what was, without a doubt, the most famous automobile that used steam power to propel itself down the road. The brothers retired from the company while in their 60s, about 10 years before its demise.

The Model R roadster was one of five models listed in the 1909 Stanley catalog, selling for $1,440 with an optional convertible top. Its 20-horsepower, twin-piston engine is a model of simplicity, with just 13 moving parts. It can easily cruise at 40 mph or climb steep grades. Raymond H. Carr purchased this Stanley from Jim Keith of Virginia, who built it between 1995 and 1996. Keith is knowledgeable with the Stanley marque and owns two examples himself; thus, it was faithfully engineered to original specification using as many original parts as possible. At age 71, Carr drove this kerosene-fired, 20-horsepower steamer from Anchorage, AK, to Bar Harbor, ME, a distance of 5,340 miles.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

Posted in American