1910 Stoddard-Dayton

This 1910 Stoddard-Dayton may well be one of the first "Hemi’s." Its inline 4-cylinder engine, introduced in 1909, has true cross-flow breathing with inclined overhead valves and hemispherical combustion chambers. Its ingenious valve actuation manages to control eight valves with just four pushrods and four rocker arms and is a fascinating mechanical symphony in operation. [The exhaust valves operate in what today we would consider "ordinary" fashion but the intake valves are operated at a low place on the cam profile by springs that pull down on the pushrod, drawing the pushrod end of the rocker arm down against the intake valve stem and a weak valve spring. It was very trick but inefficient, which explains why Stoddard-Dayton used the system for only two years.] Behind the innovative engine the driveline is conventional by today's standards but state-of-the-art in 1910, consisting of a cone clutch, 3-speed transmission with reverse and torque tube shaft drive to a live rear axle. Another advanced feature is the Hartford friction shocks which snub the semi-elliptical leaf springs. This example is bodied by E.E. Denniston in Buffalo, New York with a two-seat tulip coach body and cape-style leather top. A small seat with folding backrest resides in the open above the rear axle. Right-hand drive, it is finished in Maroon with matching wood spoke wheels, blackwall tires and Red coachlines on Black accents harmonizing pleasantly with matching Maroon diamond-tufted wool upholstery. The upper margin of the body tonneau is bordered by a section of real canework. Accessories include CM Hall acetylene headlights, kerosene cowl lamps and tail lamp and a Rubes style bulb horn. It was restored from a complete chassis and drivetrain found among the storied Barney Pollard collection and an E.E. Denniston body discovered in the fields of the Hershey swap meet in 1994 which fit the Stoddard-Dayton chassis perfectly, even bolt holes and the exhaust cutout actuator. It was the subject of a feature article in Hemmings Classic Car magazine (May 2005) and is extensively detailed and documented. For easier and more enjoyable use it has been fitted with an electric starter and fuel pump but other than those small concessions to convenience and safety it is meticulously restored to like new appearance and has been carefully maintained in Concours-ready condition since the restoration by a knowledgeable, thorough, detail-oriented owner who, along with his father, has specialized in Stoddard-Dayton’s. This is a charming, rare and historic automobile that will be a delight to drive on Brass and Gas tours and events and to display at the most demanding shows and Concours. Its innovative engine and hyperactive exposed valve gear will fascinate any gearhead -- and may make gearheads out of others who didn't know they were susceptible. It will not disappoint the closest inspection and will be the center of attention in any collection. It's that cool.

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