Thursday, June 17, 2010

All Steamed Up!

by Nancy DeWitt

It's been a busy week getting ready for our Midnight Sun Cruise-In, but a very exciting one since it's involved getting our 1910 Stanley Steamer ready for Saturday. Alan Kelso, a steam car expert from Pennsylvania, flew up to help Willy get the car tuned up and running.

While the Stanley is in good shape, it needed a lot of work. Among other things, the guys repacked the valves, pumps and wheel bearings; cleaned the vaporizer; repaired the throttle; and cleaned out the pressure bottles.

Willy and Alan have been helped by a great group of docents this week. At right Ed is busy packing one of the water pumps.

For some reason Rod got stuck cleaning out the fuel tank.

The trade-off for all the hard work was getting to participate in steam car training with Alan. After three days, it was finally time to take the Stanley on her maiden Alaska run.

Here Alan goes over over the procedure for lighting the burner. It took about 10 minutes to build up adequate pressure. I never realized a car could moan like a lovestruck yak, but steamers make some funky noises as they "get up to steam." Alan says the sound is known as the mating call of a Stanley.

We'll have to post a video of the firing up on our YouTube channel. Better yet, come see us fire up the Stanley at 11 am this Saturday during the Cruise-In.

The ultimate payoff for our hard-working docents was getting trained to drive the Stanley. According to Alan, "The first thing you have to do is set fear and common sense aside, because no one in their right mind would light a fire in a wooden box and then climb onto it." Eager to  prove our minds weren't right, we all jumped at the chance to drive the car.  At right is Rod taking his lovely wife, Birgit, for a ride.

Of all the drivers, Ed had the biggest grin after his turn at the wheel. He's a huge fan of steam cars and has adopted our Stanley. "I've ridden in several kinds of steam cars," he said, "but I've waited 60 years to drive one. It was fantastic!"

Many thanks to Alan, Rod, Ed and Ron for all their help this week. Willy and Alan took the Stanley on the runaround with the local car club last night, where it was a huge hit.

Here's a photo of the blow-off after the guys returned from the evening drive. Everything about this car is very impressive, and we hope you'll come see it running on Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guys,
    For more information on steam cars check out The Steam Car Club of Great Britain web site at regards Jeff.


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