1909 White Model M Steam Car

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EngineExternal combustion, double-acting cross compound steam
Exterior ColorGreen and Black
Interior ColorBlack

This 1909 Model M steam car, made by the White Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was the first automobile purchased for the official use of the president of the United States. Acquired at the behest of President William Howard Taft, a motoring enthusiast, the car was his personal favorite during the two years it was part of the White House fleet. He used it extensively for recreational touring with his family, his cabinet secretaries, and members of Congress, and the car was often the site of informal conferences about government business. Purchased at a time when motor vehicles were becoming more common throughout America, Taft’s enthusiastic use of this car and many others during his term made the automobile the vehicle of choice in official Washington and encouraged wider acceptance of the motorcar throughout America.

NHVR No. 9 HAER No. MA-175

Paint and exterior

The car is painted dark green with light green pin-striping. A pre-1945 version of the Seal of the President of the United States is painted on both side doors. The fenders, frame, and front grill are painted black.

Upholstery and interior

All seats are upholstered with black leather.


Original Engine: Yes

The White Steam Car features a two-stroke double-acting steam engine under the hood and a steam generator under the front seat. The engine has an aluminum crankcase and an iron cylinder block. It uses gasoline to run the burners for the steam engine.


This vehicle was completely restored between 1969 and 1970 and has been on display at the Heritage Museum in Sandwich, Massachusetts since. It is in excellent condition and its actual mileage is unknown.

Wheels and tires

Pneumatic, bias ply, tube type 36" x 4 ½" tires manufactured by

Lincoln Highway Tire Co. mounted on wood artillery, 12 spoke wheels that measure

28" x 3"


Rear only cable actuated external contracting drum brakes




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