19 March 1999
1910 STEVENS-DURYEA MODEL XXX RUNABOUT ROADSTER
Chassis No. 18048
Engine No. 815
Red with black fenders and black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder L-head, 318ci., 35hp ; Gearbox: three speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic front and rear with additional transverse leaf springs at the rear; Brakes: rear wheel drums. Right hand drive.
In November 1901 the first Stevens-Duryea car was shown to the public. The 5hp two cylinder engine production models were first offered for purchase in 1902. By 1905 the Stevens-Duryea car company was producing their first four cylinder production cars and the company had the reputation of producing unparalleled high quality vehicles. The company was proud of their quality control and production finesse and went to great lengths to demonstrate their engineering skills in highly detailed sales brochures. Even the instruction booklets were written in great detail and left no area of the car's operation unexplored. Some examples of the high degree of workmanship include: no gaskets were used in the engine construction, as the surfaces were perfectly machine finished and the drive shafts had square connections to avoid any wear and allow for adjustments, machined parts such as the connecting rods were carefully weighed along with milled products to ensure for overall consistency, and in the factory, engines were run in for several hours on a test bed and then subsequently all new engines were lined up and used to power the generator in the factory. The incredible attention to craftmanship and detail resulted in Stevens-Duryea's adoption of the slogan There is No Better Motor Car.
William Lassiter's very rare XXX Runabout was originally sold as a standard bodied Runabout Roadster model. However, at some point the body configuration on the car was altered to that of a raceabout styled sports car. In the mid 1950s, Leland Zylstra of Idaho discovered and purchased the Stevens and subsequently locked it away in his barn. It remained in the barn for 25 years until it was purchased by William Lassiter in 1981. It is reported that Mr. Zylstra even went so far as to sign an affidavit attesting to the duration of the Stevens-Duryea's stay in the barn. All the while, the Stevens-Duryea remained in well- perserved unrestored condition with the raceabout style body.
Mr. Lassiter then embarked upon a full restoration in 1981 with the aid of restorer and fellow Stevens-Duryea owner, Mr. David Reed. A faithful reproduction of the car's original body was constructed using the exact specifications of Mr. Reed's own very original Model XXX, (chassis no. 18113). The engine and mechanics were finished by Jack Dietz at the Lassiter Collection's on-site facility.
The careful restoration on the XXX Runabout lasted until 1988, as it was both costly and difficult to obtain the correct and original components. As a result, Mr. Lassiter's Stevens-Duryea is a very presentable and correct example of the now valuable and rare marque. It is fitted with Rushmore headlamps and acetylene C.M. Hall sidelamps, as well as with the standard mother-in-law rear seat. The engine compartment and motor appear clean, indicating only minimal use. The interior wood seems to be in good condition and the sills are reported to be the originals and were recycled from the race car body.
In 1989 the Stevens-Duryea was awarded a National First Prize from the Antique Automobile Club of America, as well as receiving the award for The Best Restored Brass Car. It is believed that only three of these XXX Runabout Roadsters exist, making the model the rarest of all remaining Stevens-Duryeas. Mr. Lassiter's car is recorded as being an authentic XXX Runabout by the Stevens-Duryea Register. Original handbooks and pictures of the XXX's race car body are included with the lot. The vehicle is eligible for all Horseless Carriage Club and Veteran Motor Car Club events and is supported by a helpful, knowledgeable and active Stevens-Duryea Owner's Club.
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