This website is the result of an evolution and a series of events. Totally unknown at the time and the foundation for the eventual creation of this site has to be Bob's purchase of a steam car from Marvin Klair. Marvin had decided to sell his Stanley as it had become more than he wished to deal with as he reached his late 70s. Originally offered to Bob's brother Bruce, the availability of the car became known to Bob after another buyer backed out. Through generous down payment loans from Bob's Dad and brother and Marvin's willingness to accept a three-year long payment schedule for the balance the Stanley was taken to its new home on Thursday, January 1, 1998. The log entry for that date reads simply "Bruce and I moved the Stanley from Marvin Klair's garage to Wilhelm's Service Center. It was placed on the dual-ram truck lift for photos and examination." Two days later the restoration commenced with of all things a through steam cleaning.
In 1999 after signing up with Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) for internet access Bob Wilhelm decided to try his hand at creating a personal website. The subject was easy to decide upon; his 1918 Model 735B Stanley steam car. That website provided an educational experience in internet protocols and website programming. That simple site was created using Microsoft WORD and described the restoration progress with several photos and written descriptions.
In time, that site was picked up by the search-engine spiders that seek out and catalog internet sites. People researching Stanley steam cars would find the site at or near the top of their search findings. This resulted in visits to the site along with questions from around the world regarding Stanley steam cars. There have been inquiries from around the United States and as far distant as Australia. The website has become a means to meet new people who share an interest in Stanley steamers.
In the summer of 2003 it became apparent that the existing site should be expanded and perhaps provide a more technical resource of Stanley steam car information. As expansion of the site occurred, the limited amount of personal web page server space Verizon grants its ISP customers, would not be sufficient. The solution was to purchase website space from a website hosting organization. Earthlink was selected to host the website based on Bob's previous experience with them for one of his clients as well as their reliability and the fact that Verizon's monthly charges for hosting a website were more than Earthlink's. An additional consideration was that Verizon didn't support interactive access with Microsoft's FrontPage 2000 which would be used to create the website.
The new website would include two major sections initially with more to follow. The first of these would be a detailed description of the restoration of Stanley Motor Carriage Company's serial number 18137. Another major portion of the site (which was launched with the creation of the website) would detail the parts and pieces that make up a Stanley. While there are several excellent websites devoted to the Stanley' Twins and steam cars in general (see the links on the home page), none contained an in depth discussion of the vast array of valves, automatics, and other exotic hardware found on a Stanley. Thus www.StanleyMotorCarriage.com was created with the purpose of becoming the definitive source of technical information related to Stanley steam cars.
Robert E. Wilhelm, Jr is not an expert in Stanley steam cars by any stretch of the imagination. Even the seasoned experts will tell you that a Stanley never misses an opportunity to teach its owner something new. There are many who have owned and operated Stanley steamers for far many more years than Bob has ever known them to exist. Much of the content of this website is based on the knowledge graciously offered to an apprentice Stanley owner by a handful of Stanley owners and operators. A listing of Stanley suppliers is provided in the restoration section.
One of Bob's first exposures to what would be involved in the restoration of a Stanley steam car came from reading George Woodbury's "The Story Of A Stanley Steamer". Little did Bob realize how the restoration of his 1918 Model 735 would parallel George's restoration of a 1917 Model 728! In keeping with George Woodbury's experiences, this site includes the log entries that Bob created during the restoration. Perhaps the greatest contribution that restoring a Stanley has made to this website besides experience and knowledge is photography. From the outset the car has been extensively photographed every step of the way. Initially with black and white film and then later with a digital camera a library of over 2,500 photographs of all aspects of the restoration has been accumulated from which to select from. Knowledge about a Stanley exists with quite a number of individuals but this website is the first location on the world wide web where an extensive array of technical information and photography, supported by drawings and figures, relating to the Stanley steamer is available.
Shortly after Bob purchased his Stanley he sought out the advice of Thomas (Tom) Marshall. Tom's father had been a Stanley Dealer during the height of Stanley production. Tom also owned fourteen Stanleys and routinely drove them on tours and showed them at car shows and parades. Tom's Stanley collection with models spanning the years 1902 through 1922 is arguably the finest anywhere as all of the cars operate as they did the day they left the factory (replacement parts are always fashioned in the tradition of Stanley and the only deviation on some of the cars has been the addition of hydraulic brakes for improved safety). When you examine, work on, and drive one of Tom's cars you are working with a parcel of American automotive history that is not unlike it was the day the car was driven away from the Stanley factory in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition, the fourteen cars in Tom's collection are representative of every major body style, construction technique, and technological improvement happened during the 25 years Stanley steam cars were manufactured. No were else can you observe the evolution of the automobile in general as well as a specific manufacture's product during the earliest years of the automobile. Additional information on the Marshall Stanley Collection is available at www.auburnheights.org .
In addition to having direct access his brother's expertise as owner of an automotive repair service and the equipment that such businesses have, Bob also joined a new group that Tom Marshall had assembled for the sole purpose of teaching them about Stanley steamers. This small group consisted of mechanics, machinists, engineers, and other technical types all interested in not only learning about the repair and maintenance of a Stanley steam car but their operation as well. Though a series of classes that Tom presented everyone learned the basics about Stanley steam cars from a gentleman recognized as a steam car authority. Now known as the Marshall Steam Team, this group has expanded in membership and routinely accompanies Tom on steam car tours in the northeastern part of the US and Canada.
While there is nothing like experiencing firsthand the restoration of a Stanley steam car as a way to learn about the vehicle, the opportunity to work on a collection of fourteen Stanleys along with the camaraderie of an excellent group of technical individuals has provided the basis for the information contained on this website. Without a doubt Tom Marshall has conveyed beyond comprehension a vast and varied knowledge of the Stanley steam car to a significant number of individuals including the owner of this website. His generosity in allowing a select group of individuals to fire-up and drive most of the cars, solo, in his collection is without peer. Without this generosity the knowledge content of this site might never has been passed on.
In addition the following charter members of the Marshall Steam Team have contributed to the expertise and knowledge provided on this website: Alan Berry, Tom Cannard, Herb Kephart, David Lumley, Walt Lumley, Jerry Lucas, and Bill Rule. The listing of individuals who have provided outstanding support during the restoration of Bob Wilhelm's Stanley include Tony Alvarez, Jeff Conly, Mike DeFazio, Donnie Hastings, Steve Jensen, Carl Kishbaugh, Joe McAleese, Doug Sorzano, Bruce & Carolyn Wilhelm, Robert & Eva Wilhelm, and Anthony Zych
Robert E. Wilhelm, Jr,
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