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Plymouth steam car

Posted by Scott Osborne 
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 21, 2010 10:47AM
I would expect the tank under the car to be for feed water. The boiler would probably have been in the trunk if the project ever got that far along. If no boiler there look for mounts, unconnected piping ends etc.
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 21, 2010 08:14PM
So whats the deal, is the car for sale??
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 22, 2010 11:04AM
So we still have no idea which country this car is located in, but because it has a White engine in it then it is not Keen Steamliner #1 so we have spent a lot of time discussing other things, all good and historical but not anything that will help us with the history of this car. Tom Kimmel
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 23, 2010 04:06AM
I will have to make another venture over to study it some more, The car is in southern Wisconsin. And yes I am trying to buy it. But the owner is not in a hurry. I cant wait to open the trunk and see what is in there.
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 23, 2010 10:18PM
I hope you can get it, looks like it would be a nice project. thumbs up
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 24, 2010 11:56AM
Hi, everybody. I went back to look at the car, and in the trunk is a big round drum looking tank with a rectangle tank next to it. It was a job to make them fit so well. I could not follow the lines. But I had a better look at the tank under the car. It is shaped like a Torpedo. Anymore thoughts from anybody would be appreciated, then I wont bother you anymore. Thanks again
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 24, 2010 06:03PM
Scott you are not bothering anyone. This is really interesting. Any possibility of photos of the the drum, tanks etc. The torpedo shape could be a pressure tank for fuel a feed water heater etc etc. Please keep us informed. As the owner of a bitza steam car I'm fascinated by this car. If you could even estimate the dimensions of the parts that would help.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2010 01:15AM by Marksteamnz.
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 24, 2010 08:11PM
I appreciate that, I have become addicted to finding out what this is. It doesnt help that I am a history buff also, but I guess you guys are too. I am going away for a while, but I will check in with you when I get back and find out more. I have not even talked to the owner yet, just his handyman who is kind of managing his stuff. The old guy is a Hoarder and It takes an hour to take the stuff off of the cars to see them. Ok, I will talk to you later
Re: Plymouth steam car
August 24, 2010 11:23PM

I can understand the access problem but you do need to look more closely at all the main fittings to assess what type of hardware has been used and whether it was once completed or not. I have no information of a conversion that matches the description so far but it is likely someone in the USA may know the background once any of the previous owner(s) can been identified. That person may not be a steam club member now or have internet access so require more detective work by someone.

The function of the drums in the trunk will be important. The vehicle needs water and fuel tanks and a boiler and all will need to be a reasonable size. There could be a water tank at the front near the engine and condenser. The round tank in the trunk could be the boiler casing or a mock up for a boiler. The boiler will need a burner attached, air intake and flue outlet cavity, plus lines going in or out for feed water supply and steam outlet. A water or fuel tank will need a filling cap either on top or on a tube attached to the tank. If fittings are missing, mounting flanges or cavities should be visible.

You will need either identification information from the owner or a lot more photographic and measurement information to work out what is there. If it has been idle for many years it will probably need a major rebuild of at least the boiler, fuel and water systems. The engine could be in good condition if still free to turn over. The car would be repairable or easy to replace if found to be a rust bucket.

The vehicle is not a classic but the steam plant may contain a lot of antique steam system parts so you would need to be familiar with the appearance of all fittings used on White and Stanley steam cars. It will be more interesting if most parts are from one manufacturer. Specialists here can identify most items from a clear photograph. It will make a very good steam project if supported with a good boiler and control system. In assessing the viability of a restoration, I would budget for a complete replacement of everything that has not been identified so far, and clean up and repair to good running condition of everything you can see.

You need to look at the drive train used in this vehicle, observing the steam engine may only have a rev limit of about 1,000 rpm. The original car was geared to give about 20mph per 1,000 rpm of the prop shaft. How many different sizes of White engines were made? The sizes I've seen so far include 2.5"hp x 4.5"lp x 3" stroke; 3" x 5" x 3.5"; 3" x 5" x 4.5" and 3" x 6" x 4.5".

The date of the vehicle could be up to 1932 and the dash trim looks like the Business Coupe style. The central instrument cluster of 5 is the standard layout. Your dash picture shows that additional steam instruments have been added behind the steering wheel. The coupe was made as a fixed top or convertible, the latter more sought after. Prices for complete original models seem to be from about $14k to $30k (show quality) but modified hot rods can cost much more.

Does the vehicle look like this overall?


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2010 10:33AM by gvagg2.
Re: Plymouth steam car
September 03, 2010 12:40AM
If the steam engine in this car is a 1903 White, it may be too small to give reasonable road performance. I understand that year the engine power rating was only 10hp and the car using it weighed 1800 lb. The Plymouth weight is around 2700lb and a steam conversion will add a few hundred pounds to that.

The White steam car web site is still being set up and still has very little information. Looks like they could do with a lot of help.

Re: Plymouth steam car
September 21, 2010 11:40AM
Hi everybody, Nothing has changed since we last talked. I did buy a 47 ford coupe from the guy, but he wasnt in the mood to tell me about the Plymouth steam car or any thing else he has. I am going to press him for more info.
Re: Plymouth steam car
June 13, 2012 10:38AM
June 13, 2012 Dear folks, I am interested in any follow-up on this Plymouth steam car with a White engine in it and if anyone made contact with Scott Osborne. We do not want any of these home made steam cars to disappear. I think we determined a couple of years ago that it was not Keen No. 1, which passed through the Reverend Ellis' hands and is now in England. Please let me know what the results of this search are. Tom Kimmel
Re: Plymouth steam car
June 19, 2012 10:09AM
Did no Joe Warrener produce a home built car in soumething that used a Plymouth style body? He was a most talented and productive steam guy, madde his oun Ofeldt type boiler and a fire grate made with the old corrugated box nails, supposidly that car ran great. That may be the one that Stanley "Steamer" Ellis owned at one time.
Re: Plymouth steam car
June 19, 2012 10:56AM
Keen Steamliner #1 was the one owned by Ellis, built with parts of a '40s Plymouth body. It made its way to England and was owned by Jeff Theobald at the time of his death.

Re: Plymouth steam car
June 19, 2012 03:16PM
Jeff did get the Keen fired up and the car is still around, although I suspect not fully restored.

Re: Plymouth steam car
June 20, 2012 04:14PM

Warriner describes his home built car in the linked to Bulletin.


He used a Dodge as a jumping off point.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Plymouth steam car
June 21, 2012 11:13AM
Thanks. I used to have the several SACA magazine editions that the whole Warriner project was described.
So it was a Dodge and not a Plymouth, to me they look very similar. It was said his system worked very well.
Re: Plymouth steam car
June 22, 2012 08:01AM
A few years ago I saw the D. A. Warriner steam car at Oskar Zernikow's in the middle of Mississippi. It was a 1936 Dodge with a Stanley type engine with piston valves, if the memory is correct, and the boiler was pure Bolsover. The vaporizing burner was very clever. Instead of drilling holes or cutting slits in cast iron he alternated those zig zag pieces of sheet metal that are sharpened at one end and used to nail together wooden trusses with a piece of flat sheet metal. Thus a lot of small openings about 1 1/2" long were created and just stacked in a piece of small channel iron with a more or less open bottom. When Oskar died a few years ago his collection was dispersed and I have corresponded from time to time with the new owner who knows nothing about steam. He is polite but does not respond much. Maybe I should not have started the conversation by telling him I did not have much money any more. Dave was an early club Vice-president. In the Steam Automobile Fall 1961 Vol. 4 No. 1 you can find both a small photo of Warriner's vaporizing burner as well as a photo of the Reverend Stanley Ellis and his Keen No. 1 Plymouth. We still do not know where the Plymouth with the White steam engine in it is located. Tom Kimmel
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