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1910 Stoddard Dayton 10C Raceabout/4-Seat Roadster Chassis no. 10C214 Engine no. 10A302

Estimate: US$125,000 - US$175,000
Lot 176
1910 Stoddard Dayton 10C Raceabout/4-Seat Roadster

1910 Stoddard Dayton 10C Raceabout/4-Seat Roadster
Chassis no. 10C214
Engine no. 10A302

275ci OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Motor
3-Speed Sliding Gear Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Leaf Springs with Live Axles Front and Rear
Rear-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes

*Excellent performing brass era car
*Great looking and advanced overhead valve engine
*Twin bodywork set ups
*Eligible for all brass era events


The Stoddard family of Dayton, Ohio were successful entrepreneurs with interests in paint and varnish manufacturing and farm equipment. The founder's son, Charles Stoddard, became convinced of the future of the automobile and, being a logical, progressive businessman from a successful family, carefully investigated the then competing technologies, gasoline, steam and electric. After deciding that gasoline had the best chance of success, Charles contracted with the Rutenber company in Chicago for a supply of engines and began to manufacture the Stoddard Daytona automobile.

The company's position was, in common with many of its competitors, to build large, heavy, reliable, luxurious automobiles. Stoddard Daytons were just that. The smallest car the company ever built (aside from those built by its Courier subsidiary) was an 18hp four-cylinder. They would eventually go up to a 70hp sleeve valve six.

After a few year's experience with the Rutenber-built fours Charles Stoddard designed a T-head four rated at 35 horsepower for the 1907 models. One of the new 35hp Stoddard Daytons finished the Glidden Tour with a perfect score. And it was a Stoddard Dayton which not only won the first race held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 but another also paced the race.

In 1908 the Stoddards hired H.J. Edwards, an experienced engineer from England, and he was given a free hand to design Stoddard Dayton's next engine, a powerplant which has forever secured the company's place in automotive history. Introduced in 1909, the next Stoddard Dayton was a 4.75 x 5 inch 36hp four, a configuration that was in itself not unusual. Its valve layout, however, set it apart. In an era when mechanically-operated intake valves had only recently superseded "automatic" intake valves sucked open on the intake stroke and T-heads were only just yielding to simpler and more compact L-head valve positioning Edwards' design for Stoddard Dayton was a true cross-flow head with inclined overhead valves and hemispherical combustion chambers.
It wasn't until three years later, at the 1912 A.C.F. Grand Prix, when Peugeot showed up with the dual overhead camshaft, hemispherical combustion chamber that revolutionized engine design forever.

The first Model 9 Stoddard Daytona engines used an ingenious valve actuation system with a single camshaft in the crankcase and only a single pushrod and rocker arm pivoted in the center of the head which operated both valves. Exhaust valve operation was conventional with the pushrod pressing down on the valve. The intake valve, however, was opened when a low place on the lobe allowed a spring on the pushrod to pull down on the positively-fastened pushrod and the other end of the rocker arm.

The Stoddard Dayton layout was efficient in terms of moving parts, but imposed large friction loads on the valve gear which had constantly to work against the pressure of the intake valve opening springs. The rubbing loads on the camshaft and tappet also were severe and quickly wore out the valve gear. After a year's experience Stoddard Dayton redesigned the engine to separate the valve gear, placing a second camshaft on the other side of the engine and duplicating the pushrods and rocker arms for conventional valve operation against springs which held the valves closed.

Stoddard Dayton's experiments with engines were not over, either, although the hemispherical head engines continued in production. In 1912 Stoddard Dayton added a huge 70hp Knight sleeve valve six-cylinder to its catalog however the Stoddards had sold out to Ben Briscoe in 1911 and the company succumbed when U.S. Motors went under in 1913.

Several thousand Stoddard Daytons were built in the company's nine year history but today only a few survive and their remarkable technical accomplishments are largely unnoticed.


The car we present here resided with noted Maine collector Richard C. Paine Jr. for many years, being one of two examples in this hallowed collection. It has long been thought that Mr. Paine had acquired this, like a large number of other cars from pioneering plastic surgeon Dr. Sam Scher, who in turn had purchased numerous cars from famed opera singer James Melton. The singer was one of the founding fathers of the old car movement, saving and preserving numerous important historic machines in the 1940s and 1950s and promoting the hobby generally. If his it may well have spent time at his Autorama museum in Hypoluxo, here in Florida.

Interestingly, Melton, like Stoddard Dayton, had a distinctive "first" at Indianapolis. Speedway promoter Carl Fisher used his personal Stoddard Dayton as the pace car for the first Indianapolis 500 mile race. James Melton was the first person to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" in the Indianapolis 500 Pre-race festivities starting in 1946.

The car is equipped with C.M. Hall acetylene headlights, a Gray & Davis kerosene taillight which has been electrified and a Rubes trumpet style bulb horn, it also has a Stoddard-Dayton No. 2 carburetor. Suspension is by semi-elliptical leaf springs and solid axles. Rear wheel brakes use contracting external bands on the drums. There is no windshield, top or top frame.

Under the engine cover, however, is the prime attraction, the hemispherical combustion chamber, inclined valve cross-flow 40hp Stoddard Dayton engine with its abundance of brass and bronze exposed valve gear, a display which whether stationary or in motion will fascinate and captivate anyone who loves intricately timed and coordinated machinery. It is a masterpiece, and an important example of the creativity which the Stoddards nurtured at their automobile company. When restored it will attract favorable attention from concours organizers, tour participants and casual spectators and give its new owner the opportunity to impart a sense of the significant accomplishments of the Stoddard Dayton automobiles.

By 2008 when it was acquired by the current owner it sported a Tourabout body, of a period style popular on these models. This has been enhanced with the addition of an alternative 'raceabout' configuration, where the second row of seats is removed and a tapered tail sits in its place - a sporty guise more in tune with its performance. The livery is cream with a chocolate brown accent and red chassis and undercarriage. The seats are upholstered in Beige leather.

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