Hershey | Lot 153
1899 Crouch Steam Runabout
$93,500 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
9 October 2014
- Offered from a prominent steam car collection
- A pioneering Maryland-built steam car; the only survivor of three built
- Formerly owned by Sterling Walsh
- Beautifully restored and fully functional
8 hp, twin-cylinder double-acting steam engine, tiller steering, solid front axle with a transverse semi-elliptic spring, live rear axle with full-elliptic leaf springs and single chain drive, and differential brake. Wheelbase: 62 in.
In 1899, machinist W.E. Crouch built himself a steam-powered automobile in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. It is believed that he built three automobiles, with the first two probably used to provide parts for the third, which was made in Baltimore. That final vehicle, shown here, was remarkable in the details of its construction, as it included an advanced enclosed crankcase with a jackshaft and an offset differential and a steam engine that is believed to have been converted from one built in Baltimore for marine use. The body was built of angle iron and clad in aluminum.
During World War II, this third, final, and sole extant Crouch was discovered in the basement of its original factory and sold by scrappers to Ed Hook. It later passed to Henry Gottshalk, who would own it for many years, and then it passed to well-known AACA member and past president Sterling Walsh. Mr. Walsh owned the Crouch for three decades before selling it to the present owner, a prominent steam car expert and mechanic who oversaw a painstaking restoration. The owner notes that the steam car was restored to a high standard, while still maintaining the integrity of the original construction. The restoration was a multiple AACA award winner, which includes a National Award in Philadelphia in 2011.
The owner has offered to travel to the new owner’s home and instruct them in the car’s operation, waiving his fee if they will pay his travel expenses.