Full-Size Steam


Ruston Proctor Portable ‘Self-Propelled Conversion’ No. 33491 of 1907 SO647

Manufacturer Ruston, Proctor & Co Ltd/Privately Converted
Model Single Cylinder Portable Engine with drive train
Country of Origin UK
Works No. 33491
Year Built 1907
Year Converted c. 2018
Gears 2-speed, chain drive
Condition Operational and complete
Asking Price £35,000

Offered for sale on behalf of the owner from our premises near Exeter, this is a marvellous piece of engineering which ingeniously utilises a portable engine to create a self-propelled, traction engine style machine! Arguably comparable to Thomas Aveling’s pioneering first steps towards steam traction in the mid-nineteenth century, this contemporary conversion is driveable and a wonder to behold…

Clearly inspired by the pioneering chain driven engines of the late 1860s/1870s, amongst the large box folder of paperwork and receipts linked to this engine, we found a postcard with the likeness of such an engine dated from c. 1870. This remarkable conversion originated as a standard slide valve portable engine, leaving Ruston Proctor as engine number 33491 in 1907. Whilst there aren’t any conclusive records regarding this engine in our library we believe it would’ve been roughly 7 or 8NHP however, as with many portable engines, much of its life went unrecorded. We presume it would’ve been used for typical, portable engine duties, possibly overseas, before ending up back in the UK needing restoration.

It was around this point we understand the coordinator of this project acquired it and set about restoring it with the addition of the self-propelled features essentially converting it to a road going machine. Very sadly, the coordinator and builder passed away in the final stages of the project meaning it was left as it is now having not been exhibited. That brings us to the reason why it is now offered for sale on behalf of the family from our premises.

Our assessment of the engine generally is that it is very close to being a practical, road-going machine. We have steamed it and driven it; we are pleased to report that it performs remarkably well, given the design. The Stevenson’s linkage (an addition given it was a portable without one before) and gears were designed and made with a well-known gear making specialist. The boiler was rebuilt to include a new smokebox, tubeplate, and firebox in 2013 with a new foundation ring in that time. The tubes were fitted in 2018 before the concluding hydraulic examination in 2019. The steam ticket has only just expired (Spring 2024) however, given the overall condition of this engine, that would be a formality for the buyer to have conducted.

There are a handful of alterations the buyer might consider to finish it off. We understand the intention was to fit cladding to cover boiler lagging and, currently, it is a bit of a handful which we partly attribute to the shortened reversing lever making starting a challenge at times. Overall though, it is a superb and very unique experience to drive!

Offered at the listed asking price, this is certainly one of the more affordable ways of entering full-size traction engine ownership with something which will always be a talking point!  

Asking Price – £35,000

We always encourage prospective buyers to view vehicles and steam engines in person prior to purchase. This engine is advertised for sale by Berrybrook Steam & Classics on behalf of the owner and seller.

This engine is based at our premises near Exeter. We do ask that, where possible, viewings are booked in advance by giving us a call on 01392 833301

Please ask about our flexible part-exchange options. Delivery can be arranged to anywhere in the UK, and beyond, at buyer’s expense.

The Company (Berrybrook Steam & Classics, trading name of Berrybrook Motors Ltd) offers the above details of this vehicle in good faith but cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vehicle. A buyer should instruct their agents, surveyors or inspectors to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. 

For Sale


Do you want to get involved in the world of steam? Are you considering buying a miniature steam engine? Are you stuck for a gift idea or are you simply looking for a good day out?

If so, we offer two different style days, tailored to suit your needs…

We offer a ‘Traction Engine Experience Day’, perfect as a gift and a fun day out learning a bit about what running a steam engine involves. We also offer a ‘Miniature Driving Lesson’ which is a half day course in the practical use of a scale traction engine.

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We specialise in the sale of steam engines and historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes! 

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission and would be more than happy to discuss the sale of your vehicle with you.

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Visit the official Berrybrook Steam & Classics online shop where we sell a range of steam-related products including gifts, parts and accessories for your miniature steam engine, gift vouchers for steam experience days and branded clothing!

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Milbury Model Company

We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new partner website, the Milbury Model Company!

Our newest department is dedicated to supplying high-quality, brand new model and toy-sized steam engines, spares, accessories, gifts and more…

We are an official stockist for the complete range of Wilesco products which is sold from our Devon-based shop and is available to buy online.

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The Berrybrook Blog

Looking to find out more about the preservation movement, traction engines, historic vehicles or our heritage?

The Berrybrook Blog visits a range of topics to interest all readers!

See our Blog

We can help you sell…

We specialise in selling steam engines and historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission.

Find out more

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Our showrooms are open to anyone and you are more than welcome to pop in to say hello, regardless of whether a purchase is on your mind or not!

*We are occasionally open on some Saturdays by prior agreement only – please ring 01392 833301 on a normal working day to arrange a visit.

We are typically closed on Bank Holidays.

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