Updated – Most vintage car enthusiasts would love to find a desirable untouched and unknown car put away years ago that has survived in good original condition. It is still possible today, but it was easier in the pre-World War II days.
This find of an early small eight or ten h.p. Stanley Steam car took place outside of Annapolis, Maryland on March 19, 1944. Smith Hempstone Oliver, who took these images, also reported about it in the VMCCA “Bulb Horn” magazine at the time. Our early issues of this club publication are packed away, but some of the circumstances involved in this acquisition come to mind.
The car was owned by the elderly bearded gentleman Oliver referred to as the Hermit, who lived on the property. The Stanley had been stored for quite some time in his ancient barn and apparently one of the other men pictured in this series of images had purchased it. Since Charlie Tripp is the only person that was identified, and he was photographed with the Hermit in the lead photo, perhaps he was the new owner of the Stanley? Where is this car today?
This set of six photographs from the Smith Hempstone Oliver Collection are from the Smith Hempstone Oliver collection courtesy of The Revs Institute Research Library located at The Collier Collection.
Update – Thanks to Kelly Williams, keeper of the Stanley Register Online we now know that the steamer belonged to the original purchaser R. L. Lang (the hermit), and it had not been used since the early-teens. Lang sold the car for thirty-five silver dollars and it was eventually restored by James MacDermaid; the Stanley is now in Idaho. After Lang had died, all of the silver dollars were found in the bag.