Adelaide’s very own Stanley Steam Car Model Z 9 seater is heading for Barossa Vintage Collingrove Hillclimb in October!
What is believed to be the only operational Model Z 9 seater in the country, the 1909 car is powered by a 26” boiler fitted with 999 copper tubes. It is 30 horsepower while the engine is 20hp. Although boilers are still in production, they can cost up to $20,000 but if used correctly, they last 25 years. The car has no gearbox and only has 13 moving parts in the engine.
A 300kg tank sits beneath the driver and refills the boiler itself. This generally needs replenishing every 80km. Due to an obvious lack in start-up motor, one can’t just simply hop in and go. The car needs around 20 to 25 minutes to warm the boiler before the car can be driven. It is estimated that with it’s sheer size, amount of water on board and its timber chassis that the car weighs close to 3 tonnes.
Stanley Steam Car were produced between 1897 and 1927. During that time, the American manufacturer produced nearly 11,000 cars. These cars were all of the same model, the Stanley Steamer, however different variants were created from these. Steamers went up to 12 seaters and were used as wagons to escort passengers from the train station uphill to the Stanley Hotel (which is still standing) in Loveland, Colorado. Their size and the fact that almost no other car at the time could make it up the hill made them a popular choice.
In 1906 a Stanley Steamer set the new Land Speed Record with its speed of 127mph (204 km/h). This record for a steam-powered automobile was not broken until 2009, over 100 years later.
Despite public opinion, boilers were quite safe. They were fitted with special safety valves and even if one of these had failed, it would have been quite unlikely to explode. There has never been a documented incident of a Stanley boiler exploding.
The company ended up closing once and for all in 1924. Factors like the introduction of the electric motor, lack of advertising and rival cars reaching higher speeds with quicker start up times all played a part in the company’s demise.
The Sporting Car Club of South Australia is excited to see the rare and incredibly special car on display and in action at Collingrove Hillclimb later this year! It offers a rare opportunity to see the car in person and in action.
See it on October the 6th when it and many other vintage cars and motorbikes venture up Collingrove Hillclimb!