Three owners from new
1902 Stanley Type A Spindle Seat Runabout
Chassis no. 146
Engine no. 219
The story of F.E. and F.O. Stanley, the ingenious identical twins from Kingfield, Maine, is fairly well known. Having made a small fortune in photographic plates, they turned their talents to automobiles in 1896. But before they had built more than a few cars they sold the business to outside investors. Within a few years they bought the company back at a fraction of the sales price and began production of a completely new model.
There was great fanfare in the automotive press when the Type-A was announced, and it is the type of car that is frequently seen today. Abandoning the Locomobile pattern of a transverse front spring, the new car used full-elliptic springs, oriented longitudinally, on all four corners. The wheelbase had grown to 70 inches, and there was a front seat, which allowed carrying two more passengers, their feet resting on a toe-board that dou-bled as a toolbox cover when closed. The front of the car had a stylish double curve, a feature that was further streamlined in 1903.
This time warp example has known ownership history from new and survives in highly original condition. It was bought new at the Stanley, Watertown Massachusetts plant in 1902 by John Harvey. The car, upon John's death in the mid 1950s, passed to Mr. Har-vey's son, Jack, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, who used the car only occasionally to steam around town. Jack sold the car on March 11, 1967 to Jefts G. Beede of Southboro, Massachusetts with whom the car stayed till the current owner purchased it in 2008.
The car is a reference example of an early Stanley; there is little doubt that this car is as close to what originally left the factory as one could find. With the exception of some paint work on the body and frame, it is in remarkably original condition. The original leatherwork is superb as are the wonderful original fitted baskets the special front basket even has a relieved bottom to allow the seat upholstery to fit underneath. The car is equipped with a siphon tube and has a rare mechanical water tank level gauge. The mechanical side of the car is remarkable as the car seems to have just about all its original fittings and lines.
According to the Stanley register, this 1902 Stanley is the eighth oldest example of the marque and one of only five short front, 70" wheelbase cars to survive. The car still has the original body tag and the serial number stampings can be easily seen in the wooden body.
The car has not been operated in some time but its fine condition would indicate that it would not be a major undertaking to have this machine steaming again. This has to be one of the finest examples of an early Stanley existent, with only three owners from new. Due to its superb preservation, it is highly recommended.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.