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

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

Thumbnails: Left – Motor Age, August 33, 1917  Center – Automobile Journal, December 10, 1917. 


Sternad’s skillfully constructed “road locomotive” proved that he was not without a sense of humor. Although actually powered by a Rutenber gasoline engine, his $10,000 creation was equipped with air brakes, an air powered whistle, locomotive-type bell and a cow catcher (right thumbnail, above). It appears that the connecting rod and valve gear linkages were connected to the rear wheel to make it appear like those on a real steam engine. Contemporary accounts say his creation was capable of 60 miles per hour. You can see one of the most famous Trackless Trains ever built here on The Old Motor.

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