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Steam driven

Steam driven

We are guessing there have to be more steam fans among the British than from any other nation in the world, with steam fairs and steam rallies organized throughout the year. Still then it’s been 46 years exactly this day since the last steam powered train puffed its way over the sceptred isle following the national train table. Since that August-day in 1968 the Brits have only become more obsessed with steam power.

That makes it seem strange that there has never been a serious attempt of a steam car from Great Britain. The major steam car club is in fact British, but the majority of their cars originate from the US. We’ve really tried to find them and came up with plenty of one-offs, a few buses, some milk floats, one or two American Stanley steamers with British coachwork and quite a few post war attempts. But there has never been anything close to proper steam car production coming from the Brits, it seems. Or do we miss something here?

(Picture courtesy Beaulieu motor museum)


#10 2014-08-16 11:29
Just for interest I own the only MORRISS steam car, a survivor from 1906, one of four built by the company, who were formerly the engineers for the royal family's fleet of cars at Sandringham, further history available, I now prefer the Ford model "A" 1929 Phaeton
#9 2014-08-15 00:16
Suspect the answer has something to do with the comparative sizes of US and UK car markets in the early 1900s, and attitudes towards cars in general. There were several promising steam road carriages developed in the uk in the 19thi century, but they never amounted to anything, partly due to restrictive legislation.
#8 2014-08-12 07:53
According to The Complete Catalogue of British Cars there were several British steam cars. Those that went into series production are listed, some with pictures, as:
#7 2014-08-12 02:51
Apparently there was a later British steam car record attempt -

#6 2014-08-12 00:30
If I remember rightly, it used to be claimed that the "undertype" Sentinels could reach 6o miles per hour. Probably without a load on board, though. Whatever, it must have been a wonderful sight to see one rushing past.
#5 2014-08-11 18:37
There is the most wonderfully detailed 'spoof' regarding steam powered Halifax bombers in WW2...driven by Sentinel steam engines, it makes for an almost convincing but highly amusing read. Check it out at
#4 2014-08-11 15:57
Steam in the U.K? Where they invented and still build steam locomotives? There are at least 4 under construction right now! I've been on excursions out of King's Cross where the train was pulled by the Tornado, a type A1 Pacific, built in 2008! The headlights are LEDs and the cab is full of computer equipment. Impressive? Yes!
#3 2014-08-11 11:15
Sentinel were major producers of steam waggons in the U.K., their well engineered and highly regarded undertype chassis being the biggest selling of all steam waggons. Used both for haulage and P.S.V. work, a number of buses remained in use in North Wales into the 1950's and the chassis was still available from the Shrewsbury (Shropshire) works post WW2. One famous example remained in service with Jones Bros. of Ruthin as a tar- sprayer until the mid 1980's.
Sadly they never produced a car !
#2 2014-08-11 08:24
Perhaps the best known British steam car was Peter Pellandine's attempt to break the Land Speed Record in the 1980s... but maybe you don't consider it British, since the initial funding and development was Australian?
#1 2014-08-11 06:53
Steam in the UK seems to have been the preserve of trucks- major producers in later years - Foden and Sentinel.


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