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Jay Leno Demonstrates How to Start the Most Advanced Steam Car, Reviews It for Us

Starting a vehicle 112 years ago was a different process, as Jay Leno demonstrates. If you had a steam-engined car, starting it was a complicated procedure, but so were gasoline-engined vehicles of the era, as they had a hand-crank. The latter was notoriously difficult to use, as well as dangerous.
Jay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam car 6 photos
Jay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam carJay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam carJay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam carJay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam carJay Leno and 1909 White Model M steam car
As Jay Leno explains in his video on the 1909 White Model M, steam cars had their risks as well. Along with steam, which reached high pressure and temperatures, they also had fuel and pilot light, so they presented numerous hazards.

Around the same time when this particular example was built, electric vehicles also existed, and they were easier to start and use but lacked the range of steam or gasoline-engined models because of inferior battery technology.

Jay Leno describes the 1909 White Model M as the most advanced steam car of its day. An interesting thing about it is that it uses a gasoline burner to heat its boiler, which was a different technical solution from other steam-engined vehicles of the era.

White's Model M provided 40 horsepower, which was more than enough power for the era. A model such as this one, and in the same color even, was used by President William Howard Taft. At the time, William Taft's desire to formally use automobiles instead of horse-drawn carriages was seen as controversial.

While the White House had acquired three automobiles just before the inauguration, the White Model M had become President Taft's favorite. The other two vehicles in the Presidential garage, which had just been converted from a stable, were a 1909 Baker Electric and a 1909 Pierce-Arrow Model 36.

The latter was powered by gasoline, and it was considered one of the finest vehicles of its day, as was the White Model M.

Upon starting the White Model M, Jay Leno takes it for a drive and proceeds to review it for his followers. It is equally interesting as the starting procedure, if you ask us.




 
 
 
 
 

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