Lot 160

Hershey 2014

1915 Stanley Model 820 12-Passenger Mountain Wagon


$209,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • One of very few authentic Mountain Wagons
  • The only known Model 820 with its original bodywork
  • Formerly owned by James Melton and Thomas C. Marshall
  • Extraordinary patina and authenticity

30 bhp, two-cylinder double-acting steam engine, solid front axle with semi-elliptic front and rear leaf-spring suspension, and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 136 in.

The car offered here, chassis number 15055, has been well known in Stanley circles since World War II, as it was owned by popular tenor and personality James Melton from 1944 to 1952, when he sold a number of vehicles from his collection of approximately 150 cars. Melton was an important early collector from Connecticut who was responsible for saving a number of significant early cars. In a copy of the Melton Museum brochure, graciously provided by his daughter Margo, the tenor comments on the Mountain Wagon, “In the early days, these vehicles were used in Estes Park and Yellowstone National Park for sightseeing tours, hence the name Mountain Wagon. It has the 30-horsepower engine and boiler with a very low gear ratio…[it] will scale any wall and carries 12 passengers. Just the thing for meeting the train from New York when we have a large party.” Melton enthusiastically drove many of his vehicles, and it is quite believable that the Stanley was used by him just as described.

The next owner of the Stanley was Thomas Clarence Marshall, a Stanley dealer in Yorklyn, Delaware, from 1910 into the late teens. In 1940, he thought he'd like to tinker with a Stanley again and tracked down one of the cars he had sold, a 1913 Model 76, finding it still with the original purchaser. Marshall bought it back and began collecting Stanleys and other steamers, at one point amassing the largest collection of Stanleys in existence! The remainder of his collection now forms the basis of the Marshall Steam Museum.

Subsequent owners include Robert M. Chambers and Harry Resnick, who displayed it at his motor museum in Ellenville, New York, which was dissolved in the 1970s. It was later displayed for some time at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In addition to having a very long-term, known, and significant ownership history, chassis number 15055 has the distinction of being the only Model 820 to retain its original Stanley-built body. It shows a very good older restoration and appears to remain correct in all respects, with a 30-horsepower Baker burner installed by well-known steam car guru Alan Kelso. The chassis and wheels are reported to be in excellent, solid condition.

This Stanley Mountain Wagon has an extraordinary patina, which has been appreciated by owners of vehicles of this vintage for generations. It has spent most of the last six decades in a small handful of private museums and collections. As it has recently been serviced, cleaned, detailed, and returned to running order, it is ready to continue being displayed as a historic piece of Stanley history, or perhaps it could be pressed back into use the way James Melton would have advised over half a century ago.