British Steam Car challenge – makes camp at Edwards AFB

Posted by jerry on July 11th, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam

The British Steam Car Challenge crew arrived at Edwards Airforce Base on 29 June to prepare for their land steam record attempt with the steam turbine powered car ‘Inspiration’.

The car has arrived safely and the crew are working now to install the safety equipment required by the Southern Timing Association – the recognised body for Land Speed Records, and unpack everything needed to support the car – the tools, the turning jack, and everything needed to sustain the crew – even the toilets have to be brought to the site.

But it’s not easy – with temperatures soaring to 100F during the day, the crew have to work early before the place heats up. And the afternoon winds are too strong for the car, so this will affect the time for the speed attempt. The British Steam Car Challenge team are aiming to break the official land steam record of 127mph set in 1906 by Fred Marriott in a modified Stanley steam car. The official record has stood unbroken since that time, making it the longest standing speed record.

On 11 July the team’s test driver, Don Wales will arrive and dynamic test runs are expected to start on Monday 13th July

I wish the team well


Steam bike in Indonesia – Rusnan shows the way

Posted by jerry on July 2nd, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Motorcycling, Steam

Motorbike mechanic Rusnan Erces has hand built a steampunk replica of Sylvester Roper’s steam motorcycle in Indonesia. This is his third version of the bike and it is now running well.

steam motorcycle

Rusnan has a blog devoted to his bike and it’s well worth a visit.

It takes about 15 minutes to raise steam using charcoal fuel, bringing it up to an ideal operating pressure of 50-100psi. Rusnan estimates the bike may be capable of up to 50-75mph (80-120kph). The safety valve is set to release at 100psi to keep things safe, although the boiler has been tested to 150psi. The bike can carry 10litres of water and the burner 3kg of briquettes, giving it an endurance of 3 hours continuous running in a static display. The engine appears to be a single cylinder single acting piston-valve type, and the boiler is likely a simple water tube type with a burner grate below, which can use charcoal, coal, coke or wood – it could also potentially use compressed waste paper making it a very cheap vehicle to run.

The bike is an inspiration in terms of what can be built from scrap sheet metal, some motor parts, piping and an old bicycle! This is the ultimate in appropriate technology, particularly for a developing country like Indonesia. Rusnan hopes that this will be the start of a whole movement aimed at building and running steam motorbikes – he has certainly made a good start!

Recently the bike was featured on Indonesian TV, and you can see the bike in action here


Stanley 740B 1921 in Sydney Australia

Posted by jerry on May 23rd, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam

A Stanley 740B 20HP steam car similar to the one pictured below is in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Apparently Stanley steam cars made for the Australian market had a number of distinguishing features which made them different from those made for the US market. All Stanleys sent to Australia had wire wheels, while those in the US had wooden artillery wheels, and Australian dealers added “Stanley Steamer” in metal writing across the radiator.

The 1921/2 Stanley was bought new in 1922 by a Mr H.F. Slocombe, an engineer living in Manly, NSW. The car was one of the last two imported into Australia before WW2.

Stanley 740 tourer [Photo: Jerry Everard//taken at the Ottawa Science and Technology Museum, Canada]

Stanley CX 1903 Steam car – for sale in Australia

Posted by jerry on May 20th, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam, Technology

It’s not often a steam car gets offered for sale in Australia – and when one does – few would match the quality of this newly restored Stanley CX 1903. The attention to detail is superb. The car is offered as part of a deceased estate and is fully functional. It is also London-to Brighton eligible. The car boasts a new boiler, burner, tires, leather, paint, basket etc. and its fold-out seat enables two additional passengers to be carried.

Check out the photos – then contact Ken Russell (himself a Stanley owner) for more details – but only if you’re genuine 🙂 He can be contacted in Melbourne Australia Vic, via the email link above. For more information about Stanley steam cars, check out the UK’s Steam Car Club website run by Jeff Theobald.

Stanley CX 1903

Stanley CX 1903

Stanley CX 1903
Photos courtesy of Ken Russell


Grout 1904 steam car being restored

Posted by jerry on May 17th, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam

Arthur Funai is a perfectionist and a retired engineer who worked for General Electric. That was a while back, and at almost 90 years of age he is completing restoration of a 1904 Grout steam car that he has had under restoration since 1956. It has been a lifelong hobby – he has also restored a 1914 Model T Ford – which is in the garage next door.

He began restoring the Grout car when he was 36 years old, and being an engineer, he has made many of the parts himself – including the machines to make the parts. But some critical systems, like the boiler he outsourced to specialists – in this case Don Borden who has made over 500 boilers for steam cars – mainly Stanley steamers.

You can read the full story in the Boston Globe here.