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Barrett Steam Car

Posted by frustrated 
Barrett Steam Car
February 22, 2008 09:10AM
Hi folks:

I just heard from Tom Kimmel who asked me to post the information that the Barrett steam car is for sale.

Craeghton Nordahn <solarvolt@gmail.com> (818 518 3264) is the contact point for the executor of the Barrett estate, he should be able to provide information. The Barrett family has had an emotional time with Pete's passing and they would prefer working through intermediaries.



Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 23, 2008 01:56PM
I'm grateful to make your association; have a longstanding interest & enjoyed several Lindsay books over the years! industrial mechanic by trade.

Stumbled upon the Barrett steam car in storage, while picking up a used bandsaw out in Fontana, Calif.
Unfortunately Phillip has long disappeared & been presumed deceased, following Peter's journey to the happy engineering shop in the sky.
At any rate, the executor has asked me to help sell the car, after I'd helped them sell the mill & lathe.

I'm greatly relieved to know that full plans are available. At the time I made these photos, didn't know much- except that I'd found something extraordinary.

There are handwritten logs of the work done on, & believe they have other paperwork on it as well. It is currently on a trailer which is included. "Make best offer" basis. It would be good to get this to someone knowledgeable about it. I'd take it myself but not in a position to, at the moment.

I do not know it's current operational status. Tom & Dave have been kind enough to fill me in on the history. It should be understood to be more of a test-bed than a reliable vehicle. Both Perter & Phillip were accomplished engineers.
There's also a V frame prototype Tom or David wrote to me about, looking for that email- if I recall it was built by a gentleman from Tasmania(?) photos available.
Please share with any relevant parties, greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Craeghton Nordahn

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2008 06:18PM by solarvolt.

Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 23, 2008 02:02PM
A few more photographs- seems three is the limit.

Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 23, 2008 03:28PM
Hi The V twin engine is a copy of Wally Mounster's engine. Wally lives in Tasmania but is often not home as he acts as a ships engineer. He was on the Endeavor replica and is now I believe on the Spirit of New Zealand. I'll ask some contacts as 2 weeks ago he was in New Zealand and still may be here. Wally will probably know at what stage the V twin engine is at as he and Peter corresponded regularly.
Mark Stacey
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 24, 2008 01:54AM

I don't know what to say here, but I for one would really like to see this car in Tom's museum where we all could benefit from it. Peter Barrett was one of us, come on, this is where it belongs, right here with S.A.C.A.. We don't want to lose this like we did Wendel Mason's car.

So what do we have to do? I figure I'm not the only one hit by this damnable economy but can we somehow put some pazzusahs together?, this is important.

Mr Nordahn, any idea how much?

Thanks, ---- Bill G.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 24, 2008 02:11AM
Hi Bill, If you can come up with a figure, I'll definitely run it past them; it is a legacy for sure. I would like to see that happen as well.
Thanks for articulating that- it was the thought that brought me to find SACA.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2008 06:16PM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 24, 2008 10:05PM
The critical question is this......

Would MRS Kimmel kill Tom and quietly dispose of the body if he bought another car at this time?
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 24, 2008 11:38PM

What is the storage situation? How much a month? Sometimes things like this take a while to get everyone together.

Best, --- Bill G.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 24, 2008 11:52PM
Updated Feb 28, 1:30 PM Pacific
Hi All,

situation is completely fluid; have some interested parties (both inside & outside the org).

SACA is the most qualified to make use of it, we'll see how things develop...

A backup storage has been offered. It at least gives some time to the equation. Will post/ edit updates.
Best regards,

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2008 06:14PM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
February 27, 2008 01:27PM

Which one of you guys is bidding on Pete's car in secret and not telling us about it? :-D

Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 21, 2008 03:52AM
Here are some photos at Photobucket: [s305.photobucket.com]

Craigslist ad, titled "EXPERIMENTAL STEAM CAR," has been posted as follows:


The executor is obtaining the paperwork duplicates from DMV. Title is clear.
The next step will be posting to ebay or Ioffer.com

I would rather see it obtained somehow by the group entity, (shares?) but I know little of how that might be facilitated; group organization knowhow isn't one of my strong suits. Open to suggestions.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2008 06:11PM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 21, 2008 10:52AM
Tom knows Jesus personally. he has been resurrected several times tongue sticking out smiley
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 23, 2008 07:09PM
Happy Easter!
Craigslist ad, titled "EXPERIMENTAL STEAM CAR," has been posted tat the following link:

The executor is obtaining the paperwork duplicates from DMV. Title is clear.
The next step will be posting to ebay or Ioffer.com
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 24, 2008 11:51AM
Hi All,
Here's the ebay link. "Unique Experimental Steam Car"

They didn't allow a direct weblink to other information ( ebay policy) but I left directions/ clues to find SACA &

It's a 7 day listing. If you can help get the word out, it will be most appreciated!
Open to suggestions of course, on improving the ad copy.
Persevere & Happy Easter!
Hope this helps Pete & Philip's resurrection.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2008 11:53AM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 25, 2008 09:52AM
Posted this on the SteamAutomobil.com forum.

Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 25, 2008 11:10AM
Thanks, Andy!
There are so many Steam people & associations to contact, it's a bit daunting... in a good way.
Much appreciated!

Barrett engineering pages:

photographs: [s305.photobucket.com]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2008 11:14AM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 04:44AM
OK, I'm signing on a house in a couple weeks. With a healthy downpayment and closing costs the best I could scrape together on short notice without actually borrowing money or ripping off the retirement funds was about the same as the current 'reserve not met' bid. I guess I hope the car doesn't end up gathering cobwebs somewhere, but instead finds a home with someone who will do the tweaks necessary to make it a reliable, turnkey operator. My impression of Peter Barrett on a few meetings was that he'd have been happier to see the car improved and run rather than become a static display. I'd be super impressed if SACA or some SACA chapter somehow bought the thing and developed it further as a demonstrator, but I suspect that's a non-starter. Here's praying it gets a good home...

Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 05:47AM
Hi Craeghton,

I noticed that you listed the chassis year as unknown. Please email me privately with the chassis number, and I will look up the year, so that you can list it in the ad. This could be important to a California buyer for smog reasons. Pre-1976 (which it almost certainly is) is exempt from CA vehicle inspection. If it is post-'76, a buyer could have big trouble getting it registered for road use in CA. This could be discouraging bidders. The chassis number is not the VIN. It should be atop the VW floor pan "hump" immediately (a few inches) forward of the transmission. If there is any rust obscuring it, a few drops of oil and some rubbing should make it legible. You might have to pry up some asphalt sheeting in that area to read it. Correct vehicle registration should show the chassis year as the vehicle model year. If built on a VW Bug floor pan, then for all legal/CA-DMV purposes it is a VW Beetle.


Peter Brow
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 09:06AM
Thanks for the info! Yes, I'll check on that- You are probably right about it being prior to 1976, because I found at one point a normal registration slip that didn't have any outstanding issues. Unfortunately I won't be able to get out to where it's stored before the weekend at the earliest. I don't know if you can derive any history from vin# 5810756 or license JZZ203 or not.

I just noticed that the $20k reserve has been met on the second bid, that's an interesting development! UK party.

Being purely US Steam partisan here, but
Calling all steam people in the Americas,
bid time ends ends Mar-30-08 23:08:15 PDT..! Sorry about the weird hour.
Fortunately there are autobid programs that can snipe it for you when you specify.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 12:47PM

Good to see some money is being attracted to it. There is a lot of technology built into that car. If some company were to use it as a development platform it would save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in development costs. A lot of big companies couldn't even get a running steam car on the road.

Hope it goes to a Million.

Best Regards, ------- Bill G.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 07:21PM
Hi Craeghton,

That's a 1963 chassis.

I thought about bidding on this myself, but personally I need to concentrate my time on finishing the design of my own steam car, then building it. Glad to see that Pete's family is getting a good sale price on his car. Whoever gets it will have one of the best of the modern steam cars. The reserve price seems to promise that it won't just rot in a garage or lot.

If anybody wants to build a VW-based steamer, maybe their own Barrett Steamer built from the plans, I have a 1964 VW Bug floor pan/chassis, with brakes, suspension, wheels, transmission, & tires. No body, engine, or paperwork. Slight rust; everything needs work, but new parts are cheap. Garaged since 1992. Free to a good home. Show your SACA membership card & roll it onto your trailer. Located in San Diego, California.

Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 26, 2008 11:07PM
I find this development in steam car design interesting. More specifically, I see the use of some sort of accumulator. I have enclosed a picture that has a blue arrow pionting to a device that I can only identify as a an "10in rotating air-chuck" I work with these, at my day-job, so I could'nt help but spotting it, right-away.


Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 27, 2008 02:16AM
Hi Jeremy. If you check out a set of Barrett plans or back issues of the SACA mag you will see what you are looking at is the oil water centrifuge. Spot on about the rotating though.
Mark Stacey
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 27, 2008 08:55AM
Hi, Here's the centrifuge link. I wonder if he took an existing air chuck & modified it to his specs.

Jeremy's site is amazing!

Hope that someone in US emerges from the woodwork at the last second. Ebay works like that. Keep your powder dry...
In any case, it will be well cared for, and that's a huge relief! It was the first objective from the moment I stumbled upon it. My deepest thanks for everyone's kind efforts! Meeting some wonderful people thru all this.
Best to all.
Craeghton Nordahn
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 06:57AM
I see there were no additional bids. The number of bidders and eventual sale price isn't a real endorsement for the concept of manufacturing modern steam automobiles. Still looks more like a hobby than an industry.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 01:07PM
Hi All, my apologies for the long winded post but I have a question towards the end.
Well, the good news is that it's going to a very involved steam enthusiast, Greg Walker, who is very near by to Jeff Theobald who heads the GB association. It will have a very good home, which was the primary objective.

Just beginning to assemble as many handwritten documents that Pete or Phillip may have written, get them scanned & ultimately into pdf so everyone can have the research resource. Don't know how many the executor may find, but there's one chock full notebook I retrieved from the box in the trunk.
Will also make more detailed photographs for the same purpose. I guess since there's so much detail, the way to go is in a map grid approach more or less, & top to bottom.

Steam is alive & well, things just evolve in form. The Stirling engine as a stationary power generator for one. Book: "The Next Great Thing: The Sun, the Stirling Engine, and the Drive to Change the World" by Mark Shelton

Part of the auction results are IMO due to
1: the apparent arcane complexity of the car!
quite a lot to understand under that hood. Jay Leno is a very knowledgeable guy, but he's got too many other projects going. Nice of him to come out though.

2: late auction time, my failing. had some glitches to resolve. Though it is possible to use software to do auto sniping at the last second, it is understandable that potential interests would want to monitor in realtime. There were some 115 people who had it on the watch list & well over 6500 page hits.

3: the programmed slide in the dollar & the probable agenda all along to get the F$d, (the world's largest private corporation, not part of USG), more power. Follow the money trail. ( Always thought "the Fed" was an apt term!!

anyway...back to the evolution of steam technology.
Note: also interested in conversing with anyone on or off list, regarding the use of steam design technology elements in conjunction with refrigerants as a low temp phase change medium. There's a long story to that, for another time....
At the risk of going off topic, dear Steamologists? Feel free to begin another thread if so- or might repost elesewhere if there's no response.

Does anyone here have direct experience/ observations with some of the water conversion kits around? I believe these use HHO, a form of hydrogen, it may be similar to, or in fact is, "Brown's gas" which is quite remarkable.

Including a few links at the bottom , though with the exception of Eagle Research a very interesting outfit that I've been interested in for years-

all the rest have info "on sale today for $50 but tomorrow back to $300" which is a lame advertising method- but whatever...
Nonetheless my main interest is immediate, since there's a wonderful old 1T 4 wheel drive 350v8 GMC truck outside I'd love to be able to afford to drive again!

Part two of that question is, wondering if there are two variants out there-
1: using water in a standard IC engine as a steam boost on the power stroke?
2: several kits about look like they're introducing HHO in the gas mix

I feel that George Wiseman is legitimate. Open- source research guy.

some other players who might in fact have repackaged Wiseman's work, though I don't know that:
This fellow is local to me, will check him out:

other cast of characters:

any input? For any who have waded thru all this, note on Brown's gas: he was a legit guy. Just beware "Better World Technology" & Dennis Lee, IMO (in my opinion) a con artist.
They provide a full range of services for inventors, from crucifixion to burial.

again, my thanks to all.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 02:43PM
Anyone selling hydrogen from water to run your car or improve the millage and the kit runs of the car battery that the car recharges is, being charitable deluded, and being realistic a con artist.
Dan Rutter in Australia has written some clearly focused links on this money scam, and I believe the EPA has a list of don't work won't work.
With all these "miracles" you have to remember if it worked as easily and cheaply as the hucksters say the corporate business world would be selling it. Large business is amoral, it just wants to make money and even if as the deluded conspiracy theorists think "every" engine maker in the world is suppressing the invention then some one else (ie Wall Mart Pep Boys etc) would sell the magic widget if they could make a buck out of it.
Mark Stacey
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 02:56PM
thanks for the link, will check it out. Hey, it's just a question. Some of Wiseman's ideas at Eagle research are interesting, well to me at least.

Before one writes off the entire subject due to some shady enterprises ( what else is new?)
it should be noted that Brown's gas is a unique form of hydrogen with very strange qualities. Specific temperature response to materials in welding, etc.
I have video demonstrating it's implosion property.

on to part 2 of my question, anyone see anything on using steam as part of the combustion power stroke?

I have more questions than answers- the questions seem to be getting more interesting, over the years...

-Grassy Knoll, magic bullet....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2008 03:45PM by solarvolt.
Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 03:49PM
I went out to George Wiseman's eagle-research site.

Look at the browns gas subject. Found it intersting that he clames it to burn cool in one place and turns around and clames just the reverse in another:

'If we had all H and all O, our flame wouldn't have to be very hot to "self propagate" because the flame wouldn't have to be putting all that energy into splitting the H2 and O2, before it could burn. So we'd have a "cold" flame, right? And it is universally noted that Brown's Gas burns with a very low temperature flame.

If we had all H and all O with no H2 and O2, and we reduced straight to water. We would go from a greatly expanded gas to liquid, a reduction of 1860 times, with little of the expansion caused by heat. This would produce quite a vacuum, don't you think? And if our "flame" was doing this, the reaction would be an "implosion", right?'

'The extra available atomic-level energy could account for some of the strange effects of Brown's Gas, like sublimating tungsten, which requires temperatures close to those found on the surface of the sun. "Normal" 2H2:O2 flames can't reach these temperatures.'

'During a Brown's Gas mon-atomic hydrogen (H) and mon-atomic oxygen (O) flame, we don't have to add any energy because the molecules are already in their simplest and highest energy atomic form. This means that "perfect" Brown's Gas can have 3.8 times the possible 'heat' energy that an "ordinary" H2 and O2 flame has (442.4 Kcal/115.7 Kcal).

Thus we can get 'plasma' type temperatures and effects as we weld, because the potential atomic energy is there, even if it doesn't show up as heat.'

Mark said it about right. He's deluded, or a con artist.

Re: Barrett Steam Car
March 31, 2008 04:01PM
Hi Guys,

Glad the Barrett car went to a good home.

I think we all know the water as fuel business by now. Always more energy to split the water than what will come back from it. The only possible advantage would be to promote better fuel burning in a severely out of tune car. It would be similar to adding a little bit of propane to a gasoline engine. The propane would act as kindling to get the fire going.

A friend of mine got involved with one of these devices. It used juice from a car battery, a transparent plastic cylinder, two carbon electrodes for arching. The cylinder was filled with water and the carbon arc started under water. The gas that came off did burn. I think it was hydrogen and carbon monoxide mostly. The bubbles were cooled down enough by the water to not burn in the cylinder. When the battery finally ran down he agreed with me that that was where the power was coming from.

What did really impress me about this device was the brilliant white light that the carbon arcs made under water. It is the nitrogen in air that makes most arcs and lightning blue.

Craeghton, I much agree with reason number 3. But the Phorum is one of the places we can go to get away from thinking about the "Evil Empire" or the "Three Stooges" running for president. Personally though, I think Moe would be the best president of the three. I mean, how could anyone, in their right (or left) mind ever support Larry or Curly.

Try propane, it's cheap and should work as well as any refrigerant at lower maximum temperatures. Yes it burns, but if freon makes it through a flame it turns into a deadly nerve gas. Propane might slowly degrade but changing it out is no biggie. Solar stuff is generally outside anyway.

Best, ---- Bill G.
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