Hudsy Wudsy

Steam Powered Packard

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I just came across this C/L ad for a steam powered Packard that's for sale in the far northeast corner of Nebraska. I imagine someone here will be able to identify the engine:

 

https://siouxfalls.craigslist.org/cto/d/1937-packard-sedan/6710317281.html

 

00b0b_keYTURTKzO6_1200x900.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)

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Is that a Doble boiler? Would make sense for the period. I'd bet if so the motor is worth more than the asking price.

Admittedly I know next to nothing about factory steam power.

Edited by Frantz (see edit history)
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Engine and boiler look like they came from a Stanley. I have heard of a few similar projects by steam enthusiasts about 10 years after Stanley went out of business. The engines don't wear out, but I would be suspicious of the boiler.

 

It would make a good project for a steam fan and the price seems reasonable.

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Looks like the real deal.....2 cylinder steam engine looks too new for Stanley? Jacketed cylinders...the large oval plate should give away the manufacturer.

 

00101_c1u11s3HWGa_1200x900.jpg

00p0p_b73JXMGdJjA_1200x900.jpg

Edited by Graham Man (see edit history)
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Stanley engines were built into the rear axle, had the cylinders exposed and a tin housing wrapped around the rods. Engine looks like a Stanley with the cover removed. Boiler also has the distinctive Stanley drum shape. Stanley was also the most popular steam car. That is my guess and I am sticking to it lol.

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With the strange stance of the car I wonder if the entire rear end is Stanley?

 

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Just figured out the trunk picture, it is a steam powered generator for lights.

 

00d0d_kpQExgpsSAp_1200x900.jpg

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Maybe the rest of the Stanley is in the tree line...How things have changed, an old junk 1920? Stanley repurposed...

 

I am guessing the Packard was heavier then the original Stanley?  it would be cool to see run again.  I wonder if anybody knows if it worked?  The generator in the trunk would be the last thing I would work on, so my guess is it did run at some point.

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Ask Auburn Heights Preserve.  Tom Marshall's father was a Stanley dealer, and became a Packard dealer after Stanley folded.  I believe he converted a Packard to steam using Stanley parts. Tom, the son, lives at Auburn Heights and is mentally very sharp despite being in his 90s.  He can no doubt tell you all about it.

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I just can't imagine why! The installation had to be done after 1937, well after people realized that steam just wasn't practicable. I can't imagine going thru all the work needed to convert the car to steam power. I guess he had a lot of time on his hands. Might be worth it to a Stanley collector just for the motor, etc. 

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Stanley condensing car engine(post 15) most likely boiler from same car. Entry fee would be the cheapest part of this project

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1 hour ago, 46 woodie said:

I just can't imagine why! The installation had to be done after 1937, well after people realized that steam just wasn't practicable. I can't imagine going thru all the work needed to convert the car to steam power. I guess he had a lot of time on his hands. Might be worth it to a Stanley collector just for the motor, etc. 

" I guess he had a lot of time on his hands." You just explained the whole Rat Rod movement.

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7 minutes ago, oldcarfudd said:

I think he did it so he could run the car on unrationed kerosene during the war.

Maybe, but I would think that a '37 Packard would have been too valuable to mess around with until a few years later.

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12 minutes ago, Hudsy Wudsy said:

Maybe, but I would think that a '37 Packard would have been too valuable to mess around with until a few years later.

Rather than a '37, looks like a '39 to me.

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22 minutes ago, Ozstatman said:

Rather than a '37, looks like a '39 to me.

You're right. I have to stop taking things at face value.

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7 hours ago, Graham Man said:

With the strange stance of the car I wonder if the entire rear end is Stanley?

 

That is my guess too. The simplest way to repower the Packard would be to transplant the whole Stanley rear axle/engine assembly.

 

There were steam car enthusiasts long after Stanley, Doble, White and the rest went out of business. There were always guys reviving old steam cars and trying to build new ones, at least as late as the seventies. The sixties and seventies actually saw a revival of interest in steam as a means to fight pollution and get around the gas shortages. They never got anyplace but had more or less fun trying.

 

Here's a 1969 Chevelle converted to steam power for General Motors.

 

 

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Here's a Stanley chassis with the engine being tested or demonstrated on compressed air (the boiler has been removed from the car). You can see how it is incorporated into the rear axle and the resemblance to what is under the Packard.

 

 

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I might be an American Steam Car built in West Newton, Massachusetts from 1924 to 1948. There is a short Wiki article on them you can find if you google "American Steam Car".

The wiki article says they mostly used Hudson bodies and chassis which is probably true but since they were always bought out it wouldn't surprise me if one was built on a Packard chassis. Many years ago one of my friends said he'd seen an "old car" behind the rental house his cousins were living in and did I want to take a look at it? Of course, I did... We drove down to Saunderstown, RI, found the house and sure enough in the backyard was a roadster under a tarp. We lifted the tarp and then the hood and were quite surprised to see it was a steamer. I suppose it was a Hudson body, c.1925 to 26 but I didn't know enough to recognize it. I do remember it was marked "American Steam Car" somewhere.

 

In looking again I see that the wiki information is taken directly from G.N. Georgano's encyclopedia so it is probably reliable if perfunctory.

 

 

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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There was no shortage of Rube Goldbergs when I was young. I started out running duplex steam pumps and compressors shortly after that car was build. I would guess it was more like a 1950's project.

I still run across the technology today. It is fidgety stuff with levers and wheels, side drives and actuators, always something to tinker with. In the '60's and '70's there were a few railroad steam mechanics who transferred to power plants when they figured the couldn't outrun a train car anymore. I worked as a millwright with old John Potter. He ate lunch talking about yard hauslers  and puffer bellies. They used to say if there was a problem old John would pick up his hammer, throw his tongue over his shoulder, and come running. Back when guys retired at 64 and died at 65, all wore out.

 

Back around 1980 there used to be a car show in Eden, New York, just south of Buffalo. A red convertible steam car with a mid-'50's style body pulled up along side of me while I was standing near the entrance, whisper quiet and quite memorable. I'd like to see that one again.

 

The only problem with steam cars is the dihydrogen monoxide vapors they give off. It can cause serve burns and if you are submerged in it you can die in a short period of time. Its really best left to the older guys to use.

Bernie

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I drink a glass full of dihydrogen monoxide every day and it hasn't harmed me yet.  Was watching a "building off the grid" show the other evening and they wanted to install a naturally occuring dihydrogen monoxide collection system but it turns out such a system is illegal in Colorado.

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