1908 Stanley Model M Five-Passenger Touring
Sold For $170,500Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The Muckel Collection
- Offered from the Muckel Collection
- The fastest, most powerful road-going Stanley model ever produced
- Well-maintained older restoration by the late Carl Amsley
- Formerly owned by Richard C. Paine and Otis Chandler
- An ideal steam tour car with remarkable performance
The Stanley steam car had a well-earned reputation for performance in the early years of the automobile; its engineering was then seen as the pinnacle of high-tech design and made for a very fast car that famously set the land speed record at Ormond Beach, Florida, in 1906. Yet in many ways it was also something of the American Bugatti—a relatively small, light machine, without the impressive towering visuals of, say, a Peerless or a Pierce Great Arrow.
That changed in 1908 with the introduction of what was truly the ultimate Stanley, the Model M, representing the peak of the company’s designs—what the 66 was to Pierce and the Limited to Oldsmobile. It was a roomy five-passenger touring car; like the famous Model K, it was built on a 114-inch-wheelbase chassis and equipped with the largest and most potent 30-horsepower engine and a 550 psi boiler. These mechanical specifications, identical to the land-speed-record-setting Stanley of fame, could propel the Model M and its passengers along at 70 mph for as long as there was water in the tank. In performance and stature, it was every bit the equal of any internal-combustion road car the world’s builders could create to challenge it. It was humbly but quite accurately described by its builders thus: “We believe this is the most powerful stock touring car ever built in the world.”
Very expensive, the Model M was small in number; only 75 were made over two seasons, 1908 and 1909, and no original example has survived. Fortunately, as with many Stanleys, several very authentic and high-quality examples have been produced since from original parts, among them that offered here. It was built by the late Carl Amsley of St. Thomas, Pennsylvania, the most well-known Stanley expert of his era, highly regarded for the craftsmanship and excellent engineering of his cars. Completed in 1978, the car was awarded National First Prize in Antique Automobile Club of America competition, testament to the build quality involved.
The completed Model M was acquired by Joseph L. Knapp of St. Cloud, Florida, then passed to the revered collector and sportsman Otis Chandler, a man who appreciated high performance from all eras. In 1985 it was exchanged in one of Mr. Chandler’s regular transactions with Richard C. Paine’s famed Seal Cove Auto Museum of Maine. There it remained alongside several other highly notable Stanleys until 2008, when it was acquired by John Muckel. It has now resided in the good care of the Muckel Collection for over a decade.
Today the restoration shows little overall use and good cosmetic care, with its rich, dark green finish accented in black, and a chassis, artillery wheels, and striping in lemon yellow. The interior is upholstered in button-tufted black leather overseen by a black cloth top. Accessories, the highlight of any Brass automobile, include Rushmore acetylene headlamps, E&J kerosene sidelights and taillight, a trumpet-style bulb horn, and two large side-view mirrors affixed to the windshield frame. The car is accompanied by a selection of reprinted manuals and literature.
Every Stanley enthusiast should desire a Model M—the ultimate performance thrill from a company that built the fastest land-going vehicles of its era. It is an engineer and tinkerer’s dream, fairly begging to move speedily once again down a country highway.