Lot 110

Amelia Island 2016

1909 Stanley Model E2 Runabout


$49,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Serial No.
  • An authentic, genuine, original, and respected example
  • Formerly of the Van Sciver, Peck, and Jarvis collections
  • Recently returned to running and driving operational condition
  • Integrity, purity, and history: all that the Stanley connoisseur desires

10 bhp, twin-cylinder double-acting steam engine, front and rear full-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 100 in.

This Stanley Model E2, one of six models of the famous Stanley steam car available in the 1909 catalogue, is powered by a 10-horsepower, twin-piston engine, a marvel of simplicity that employed only 13 moving parts. Once the big front-mounted boiler had been carefully filled with water, fired, and gently tended by the owner’s knowledgeable, careful hands, the Model E2 could hum along and climb steep grades with ease. It was a fun car, combining the eerie silence of steam with the peppy performance that, by the late 1900s, “automobilists” were beginning to appreciate.

Former Stanley employee Ralph Van Dine also appreciated it, as he rescued this car in the early 1940s as one of numerous old Stanleys resurrected in the gas-rationing days of World War II. A photograph of Van Dine with the car, included in the file, shows him looking deservedly proud of himself while at the wheel of what is a very original, solid, and complete Model E2.

Nonetheless, Van Dine soon passed the car in 1948 to J.D. Van Sciver Jr., and while it was in his ownership, it was repainted the present shade of chartreuse. Van Sciver and D. Cameron Peck, both important early figures in the Antique Automobile Club of America, had large collections that were known, even in their time, for quality and originality. Peck eventually purchased the Stanley from Van Sciver and brought it to his vast stables in Chicago. Then he sold it on to S.D. Jarvis of Illinois, who was yet another early enthusiast.

Following Jarvis’s 1953 passing, his son, Vernon, inherited this runabout, along with the family’s other antique cars. The collection continued to be added to and curated over the years, eventually being established as the Early American Museum at Silver Springs, Florida, where the Stanley remained for over 30 years. It was a star of the collection and was featured in picture postcards, as well as on a Cardo trading card. Most importantly, while on display, it continued to be well known to the AACA community, as it was featured amidst palm trees and well-dressed young ladies on the cover of the August/September 1959 issue of Antique Automobile magazine.

In 1987, the bulk of the Jarvis Collection was sold to respected collector Robert Bahre, who soon thereafter passed the Stanley to a well-known collector, with whom it remained for a quarter-century.

Seventy years after those original hunter-gatherers brought this Model E2 into the car-collecting community, the Stanley has recently been returned to running and driving order for this sale by noted Brass Era specialist Stu Laidlaw. It continues to wear its Van Sciver repaint, with more recently refinished fenders and older restored black upholstery, which only add to the charm and authenticity of its presentation. Only the wheels are inauthentic, with good reason; when this car was found in the early 1940s, the current size of tires was not available!

This is a superb and authentic Stanley, which has been enjoyed by some of the greatest American collectors and is now ready for a new good home.