Kevin and Donna Anderson ready for a ride
in their Stanley Steam Car
KEVIN AND DONNA ANDERSON'S
Rare 1910 Stanley Steam Car
|Kevin Anderson's passion for steam engines
started when he was a boy in grade school.
While mowing yards for people, he would notice
things that he wanted to trade for as payment
for his services.
"Some of those little old ladies would
make me mow their yard twice," he said
with a laugh. Today, that passion for collecting
old things has led to Anderson's acquisition
of a 1910 Stanley Steam car.
The car just got back from Pennsylvania where
it was restored and put into total working
order. The car's front axle had to be rebuilt
and the engine was also overhauled. "There
are not too many Stanley Steamer hospitals
left out there," Anderson remarked.
He bought the car a few years ago from an
elderly widow in California, whose husband
he had spoken with two years earlier about
purchasing the car.
"Just imagine, this thing was fast for
1910!" he exclaimed while driving along
Hwy 12, just outside of his lifelong Andover
home. Modern vehicles were zooming by at
70 miles an hour while Anderson and his steam
car ambled along. "Forty miles an hour
was a heck of a speed back then for the road
conditions. There probably wasn't a paved
road in the whole state of South Dakota in
It may be hard to believe, but a Stanley
Steam car held the land speed record for
steam cars from 1906 all the way up to about
two years ago. That vehicle was clocked at
over 127 miles per hour. "In an open
cab like this, 40 miles an hour feels like
100!" Anderson remarked. He plans to
get a speedometer installed in his car soon.
To put the vehicle's age into perspective,
Anderson pointed out that the Titanic was
built in 1912, two years after his car. The
body of the car is wooden. The engine is
a boiler made of steel and wrapped in piano
wire for strength. "Us steam car guys,
to get our adrenalin going, we have to build
a fire under our wooden bodied cars and go
down the road as fast as we can," Anderson
said with a laugh. A key design element of
the Stanley Steam car is that the engine
is connected directly to the rear end, he
says. "You can get equal speed in either
The car is a Model 70, of which only about
10 still exist, he says. Worldwide, only
around 400 to 500 of all models of Stanley
Steam cars are left.
Anderson provided free rides to the public
at theThreshing Show
|It comfortably seats five people in the open
air cab. The cloth roof can retract and the
windshield is made of two panes of glass.
"The only thing it doesn't have is a
place for a garage door opener. It has no
cup holders either," Anderson joked.
The wheels are also made out of wood. They
stand at 36 inches high and just four inches
wide. Anderson says that in 1910, there were
few good roads and sometimes the ruts in
the road were a foot deep, so tall wheels
were a necessity
The car runs on kerosene and water, and gets
12-15 miles per gallon. It has a range of
about 70 miles and generates 650 pounds of
steam pressure. It takes about 20-30 minutes
for the engine to heat up enough to get it
Today, Anderson orders kerosene in bulk and
runs clear because the dyed fuel has more
of an odor. In 1910, kerosene was only about
two cents a gallon and water was free. So
it is a little more expensive to run now.
(Exerpt from story by Amanda Fanger)
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See you at the Show!