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Help ID this 1913-ish Brewster body


StanleyRegister
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This body was mounted on a bare chassis purchased from Stanley in 1923.  But it required some adaptation.  It appears that the body itself was built around 1913.  The rear fenders look to be from that era, and the body actually flares outward in front of the windshield, as though it were meeting a wide flat firewall.  This also makes me think of 1913, when electric cowl lights were first incorporated into flat firewalls, just before the big streamlining change starting in 1914.

 

The body is tiny, probably a 4-passenger sedan or a brougham, but quite elaborate inside.  Most of the interior is wood, with a ribbed ceiling, and a rather open driver's seat.  The door panels are canework.  A modern restorer removed the flat rear fenders and modified some 1923 Stanley fenders to fit.  You can see in the modern picture some of the results of the 1923 fitting project - the hood doesn't reach the sills, and there's a deep transition cowl to get from the flared body in to the Stanley hood.  The body survived in stunning condition - everything intact, and the doors close with a fantastic solid clunk. 

 

It looks like there was a book in 1917 titled "Brewster & Company Automobiles" - would anybody be able to check that for something like this car?  Are there any period photos of Brewster bodies from around 1913 that could be used for reference?  I'd sure appreciate any ideas on the history of this body.

 

Thanks,

 

Kelly

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I'd be curious myself about when the body was built because I had a RR PI with a huge limousine body on it. The body was very tall and looked much more like 1920 (or even earlier) than 1929 which was the year for the chassis. At the time I thought it had been moved from an earlier Silver Ghost - a not unusual thing for a very conservative owner who could afford to do just about anything to do if he (or she) liked the original body and just wanted to have the latest model chassis. It was a Brewster body with the interior skeleton trim and the rear doors and back of the body were done in faux cane work.

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1 hour ago, StanleyRegister said:

It doesn't have a price fixed at the moment.  Just finished up on eBay, not meeting reserve at $36,900.

 

As a Stanley guy,  do you think it is worth more or less than the equivalent touring car?   I don't have a handle on the Stanley market.

 

I do know the Stutz market,  and the same seller is off by 100% on what they will get for that Blackhawk.

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I liked it a lot better before it was "restorated". The colors are just silly. They make it look like an ice cream truck...and why did they want to ditch the original rear fenders? It's just another good reason to question a lot of "restorations."

 

 

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The color choice is definitely beyond my comprehension.

 

I think people typically prefer open Stanleys.  There are only about 2 dozen sedans & broughams left.  This is such an unique artifact that it's possible it will just catch the right person's eye - difficult to guess whether it will go high or low.

 

It would be worth a couple extra thousand just for the little smile on your face every time you open and close those doors!  Man is that body solid.

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The doors on a coachbuilt car can feel they were built for a bank vault.  Brewster is recognized as a very high quality body builder and their Springfield Rolls work is universally beloved.

 

I think in its original colors it wouldn't seem so much of a "circus" wagon.

 

Should the new purchaser assume it will need a new heat generator and and burner/pump work,  or is this as simple as cleaning a bunch of stuff up and firing it?

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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Cool tea kettle...........that being said, with that very interesting and high quality body, thats five times heavier than the standard touring car equipment, how do you think it is going to drive? It's defiantly a museum car. Value? Anyones guess. I say 30k feels right in this market.....to a steam guy.

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3 minutes ago, alsancle said:

Should the new purchaser assume it will need a new heat generator and and burner/pump work,  or is this as simple as cleaning a bunch of stuff up and firing it?

 

Not only will it need just about everything, there are only a handful of people who can do it correctly. Best guess is if you got the car for free, your gonna be upside down in it in less than 90 days.

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That's the big if.  Everything looks fine, but there's no way of knowing what happened on the last drive, and no testing has been done.  Engines rarely have trouble, but boilers are often ruined by operator error.  A new boiler would run about $6K, a burner maybe $4K, and then you'd have to put them in.  The rest of the mechanicals are pretty simple and reliable.

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6 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

Not only will it need just about everything, there are only a handful of people who can do it correctly. Best guess is if you got the car for free, your gonna be upside down in it in less than 90 days.

 

Always the realist Eddy,  aren't you?

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8 minutes ago, StanleyRegister said:

That's the big if.  Everything looks fine, but there's no way of knowing what happened on the last drive, and no testing has been done.  Engines rarely have trouble, but boilers are often ruined by operator error.  A new boiler would run about $6K, a burner maybe $4K, and then you'd have to put them in.  The rest of the mechanicals are pretty simple and reliable.

 

Stanley,  could you help me understand how the a boiler upgrade would work?    This is a 20HP car with the typical 23x16 inch boiler.   Does Burden make a condensing &  bigger boiler/burner setup to get you  30HP?   This looks like a heavy car and I'm guessing that engine is underpowered.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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The prices I was estimating were for the standard 20hp size.  People have put 26" boilers in condensing cars, and it makes a big improvement in how they drive.  Things get a little cramped but it has been done.  It doesn't exactly give you more power, but more steam.  You can sustain a higher speed. and climb hills faster.

 

Bill Barnes in Lewistown, PA also builds boilers.  (No difference in the boiler between condensing and non-condensing.)

 

Actually this car might not be any heavier than a 7-passenger touring car.  The body is pretty small, and all wood.

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I have to agree.  The lines on that body are identical to the Stanley, as well as on this 1920 period shot.  I do notice that the front & rear doors both swing the same way on the Stanley body, leaving a very narrow line between front & rear openings.

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What mystifies me is why the body flares out in front of the windshield, instead of tapering in toward the hood like on these cars.  It tells me that this body started out on something other than a Brewster-nameplate car.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's the closest match yet, on a Brewster at the 1918 New York car show at the Astor Hotel.  The reason for the rear trim lines is obvious, and you can even see the little notch above the spring mount that matches the one that was left during the Stanley body install.

 

The mystery remains as to why the body on the Stanley flares out in front of the windshield, instead of tapering in.

 

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