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1924 Stanley Steamer 7-Passenger Limo


You don’t see many steam cars for sale these days, but look what George A found on eBay! Thanks for the tip George. It’s difficult to imagine a time when gasoline powered cars were just a small percentage of the cars on the road, as most were either electric or steam in the early days. In 1900, for example only a fourth of cars produced had internal combustion engines. Steam powered cars, once they were ready to drive, were much smoother and more powerful than gasoline cars, but warm up times and the need for a constant supply of fresh water were a disadvantage. By the time this steamer was produced in the 1920s, gasoline engine development had come along far enough that the era of the steam car was coming to an end. This Stanley Steamer was listed on eBay, but the seller ended the auction before we could get the story published.

back seat

This is a very rare government limo from the final year for Stanley Steamers. It has not been run since the 1970s and would take a lot of work to get it running. The boiler will be expensive to repair and will then need to be tested by a certified person. There is a very active steam car community and parts are available. From the one picture provided, it appears the interior needs complete restoration.


The boiler and mechanics are completely foreign to most of us. There was no need for a transmission, just a boiler and a steam engine.

Here’s the boiler and engine is this steamer.

The body looks complete and in good shape. It’s aluminum so not subject to rust. This steamer is a project to be taken on by someone with very deep pockets though. Refitting the boiler and rebuilding the engine and drive components is very specialized work. However, these Stanley Steamers, in running condition, are six figure cars, so this rare limo could be quite valuable. Comments on this car should be very interesting. Are there any steam folks out there?


  1. Van

    My pockets are deep.
    Oh my bad, they just have holes.

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  2. PackardMike

    Looks like Jay Leno needs a heads up on this one!!!!

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  3. hhaleblian

    Calling Jay Leno. What am I saying. He most likely already has this loaded on his trailer.

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  4. Trickie Dickie Member

    In Fact, Jay Leno does already have a steam car many think was superior to the Stanley. Its called a Doble and also came along a little too late and is a very rare car. The steam engine set up was superior to Stanley in that the steam once used by the engine was sent through a radiator and cooled down into water to be turned again into steam. Stanley Steamers had to be constantly suppled with water as the steam was never condensed to water and used again. Dobles were made in California, I believe in the East Bay Area. Very few of them exist. Dobles were also very fast. I saw a drag race between a Doble and a Jaguar roadster 150 or 180. The Doble won by many lengths over about a half mile or more course. At the start the Jag took off and the Doble just sat there……..with its brakes on! Building up steam power! The Jag was well down the course and the Doble released its brakes. It took off like a bullet! Passed the Jag right away and easily won.

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  5. Glen

    Your own personal locomotive, how cool is that? You need a supply of water, but what heats the water?

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  6. Trickie Dickie Member

    Glen……exactly the same set-up as a locomotive. A tank holds water which is sent to the boiler and makes steam. The Stanley took a couple minutes to build up steam but the Doble was almost instantaneous as it had an electric hot plate in the boiler that made steam right away.

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    • Glen

      Thank you. I looked up Stanley Steamer in Wikipedia and they used a ” vaporizing gasoline burner” at first, then kerosene. I couldn’t see wood or coal as being practical. thanks again.

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  7. Tim

    The convertible next to it is a super rare 53 Buick Skylark

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    • Al8apex

      The “seller” of this car is a notorious “flipper”

      No deals to be had here

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  8. David Frank David Member

    It’s too bad it’s going to Australia and couldn’t stay in the US, but at least it will be restored. In the 1960s here in California the actually paid 2 companies to build steam CHP prototypes. Can you imagine being chase by a steam powered cruiser? Could they have used a whistle to get your attention?

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  9. Charles

    Sweet piece of history!

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  10. George Albright

    Thanks to BAT for the story. I am happy to report the car is going to a private museum in Australia,where two brothers are collecting their passion. They frequent the USA on business. Cheers,George A.,Ocala,Fla.

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  11. Keith

    At least it won’t be rodded LOL

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  12. Matt Tritt

    About Doble. If you look at the back of the barn, there’s one just lurking in the gloom.

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  13. Matt Tritt

    Or maybe not!

    Like 0

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