A 1909 Stanley steam car, imported from the USA in 1997, will make the journey from its current home in Dorking, Surrey, to the Medway Festival of Steam & Transport at The Historic Dockyard Chatham this Easter weekend.

Gareth Jones has owned the American 20hp Model U Stanley for 14 years and taken the car on many tours and rallies, but this is the first time that he has brought it to Chatham for the annual event. Although American, the car is right hand drive as they drove on the left hand side of the road in the USA until 1916.

“The Stanley Brothers built steam cars in the first quarter of the twentieth century,” said Mr Jones, “the first were little runabouts under the ‘Locomobile’ name, which, although small, were good enough to climb to the top of 7,000ft Mount Washington. When they built under their own name the Stanley steam car came in 3 basic models – 10hp, 20hp and 30hp. On my 20hp version the boiler pressure is at 600psi, the fuel is half petrol and half diesel and the car uses a gallon of water a mile and a gallon of fuel for very six miles. On a good road the car is capable of 50mph but the brakes are not very powerful! So the journey from Surrey could be interesting.”

Production of Stanley’s ceased in 1924 although other steam cars continued to be made until the 1950s. Mr Jones’ car was restored by Karl Amsley who restored many Stanley’s in the 1960s and ‘70s and it ran for twenty years for its American owners Norm and Dotty Oliver before he bought it and shipped it to the UK.

Stanleys also built Charabancs which they called ‘mountain wagons’ which carried up to 16 people and luggage from Denver to their hotel at Estes Park in the Rockie Mountains. Unlike internal combustion engine vehicles steam cars run better at altitude.

The Stanley steam car will be at the Medway Festival of Steam & Transport on both days, Easter Sunday and Monday 8th & 9th April and is one of over 1,100 vehicles, including 100 pre-war cars, booked to attend.

Tickets are available to purchase on line and in person at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. For further details, event admission prices and to purchase tickets on line visit http://www.thedockyard.co.uk/steamandtransport

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