Question: What type of car was considered one of the most reliable on the road, one of the most powerful, and one of the most exclusive right around 1908?
Answer: The Stanley Steamer. 1908 was the year Henry Ford introduced his Model T, which would become hugely popular in just a few years' time. But it would never be regarded as especially easy to drive, nor would it be well regarded for its ability to climb hills. Steamers at that time were also difficult to drive, but they were superior at hill climbing. They worked off of water pressure, not torque. Jump ahead about fifteen years and the Model T dominated the roads, and steam-powered vehicles had fallen below the curve. Gas-powered vehicle technology advanced leaps and bounds by 1922, but steam was fundamentally the same. They got outpaced and would end soon as an affective competition against gas power.
The 1922 Steamer we have on display in our Toy Box is one of the last of a dying breed of water-powered cars, and it's a beauty, too. We invite you to take a close look at it and, if you're curious as to how to get one of these babies running, check out the video segment from Jay Leno's Garage: