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A.F. Sternad’s Steam Train Automobile

My Baby Thinks He’s a Train – A Unique A.F. Sternad Creation

This is an updated version of a post covering A.F. Sternad’s Road Locomotive that we covered here in July of 2013. Since that time reader Roy Cousins from the UK has found a short British Pathe video of a period news clip film showing Sternad and the vehicle in action. We have combined the two here as it almost brings it back to life.

In the long and varied history of the automobile, there have been numerous examples of cars made up to look like something they are not. Perhaps the most long lived of all auto disguises is the car that was made to look like a steam locomotive. The earliest one we have ever seen is this clever, low slung item built in 1917 by prolific inventor and engineer A.F. Sternad, who was the Superintendent at The Chicago Solder Co. and holder of a number of patents with agricultural and industrial applications.

A.F. Sternad’s Steam Train Automobile

Sternad’s $10,000 creation was equipped a Rutenber gasoline engine, air brakes, an air powered whistle, locomotive-type bell and a cow catcher. The look-a-like connecting rod and valve gear linkages are connected to the rear wheel to make them appear to operate like those on a real steam engine. Contemporary accounts say his creation was capable of 60 miles per hour. You can also see one of the most famous Trackless Trains ever built here on The Old Motor.

5 responses to “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train – A Unique A.F. Sternad Creation

  1. What a wonderfully built car at the highest quality. I can’t imaging why it didn’t survive, but so many beautifully built automobiles – art to many of us – have been lost over the years. Have any early trackless trains survived David?

    Great job here and thanks for sharing!

    Geoff Hacker
    Forgotten Fiberglass

    • David,
      This 1902 Sterand has survived. It has stood the test of time and has been stored for many years other than an 8 mile test run several years ago
      Dale

  2. A road Locomotive ,the 1866 Richard Dudgeon
    built in Philadelphia, was on display at the
    Larz Anderson Museum many years ago.

    I think it is at Smithsonian now, I rode on it back around 1952
    Bore-stroke 4″x14″ Live axle,no differential
    and steel tyres.

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