Bill Winkler’s fabulous 12 HP sideshaft Badger at the 2003 Portland show. Bill’s restoration is nothing short of stunning.

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Better Late than Never

Ever had someone look at your engine, take a bunch of photos of it and promise to write an article about it? And then have nothing happen for ages? Bill Winkler has, and the person taking the photos was none other than yours truly.

I first met Bill at the 2003 Portland show, where Bill was showing off his immaculately restored 1902 12 HP Badger. Dresssed in its beautiful new coat of paint and riding on a new cart made by Bill (the trucks are original), the Badger was hard to miss.

I was drawn to it immediately, of course, and just as immediately started snapping photos and pestering Bill for more information about the engine.

I returned from the 2003 show fully intending on putting together an article on the Badger, but other promises and duties pushed the story back. And back. And back.

And then early last summer I ran into Bill at a farm auction here in Kansas. Bill and a pal had driven all the way from Wisconsin for a chance to bid on a collection of engines that was being liquidated.

Seeing Bill reminded me of his Badger and the photos I'd taken that were still sitting in a file, and after the auction I promised myself I'd pull the article together in the next month or so.

Well, a month turned into five months, but this issue, thanks to help from assistant editor Jason Denney, Bill's Badger is finally getting its due.

One of only two 12 HP tank-cooled, igniter-fired Badger engines known (the other is in parts and incomplete), Bill's engine is living testimony to both the quality of the Lauson line of engines and the passion engine collectors put into their restorations.

The Badger was remarkably complete, but its condition demanded a full restoration to get it back into operating condition. A restoration Bill pulled off in a short six months. Not surprisingly, I feel a little sheepish; it took me over a year to finally bring Bill's Badger to these pages. Turn to page 22 to see the Badger in its full glory.

So what's the moral to this story? I'd say it's pretty clear: Bill's fast and I'm slow, and good things come to those who wait.

Richard Backus


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