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The Cultivator

Thoughts from the editor.


Behind the Story of Restoring a 1912 Stover and a 1907 Gasser

Most of what we publish in Gas Engine Magazine comes to us by way of our readers. Historically, we’ve looked to engine enthusiasts themselves – that’d be you – for information, inspiration and restoration tales of mechanical daring do.

This issue is a great example of that fact, amply illustrated by two stories in particular: Ike Lockridge’s short tale of the discovery and restoration of his 1912 Stover 4 hp Type YB vertical and Dave Irey’s much longer examination of his restoration of a circa-1907 Grasser 2-stroke marine engine.

Ike’s engine was a woebegone wreck when he rescued it from the weeds. Broken and abandoned, it was the kind of engine most would consider good for parts only. Problem was, it didn’t really have that many good parts left on it, so Ike did what any good engine man does; he fixed it. And boy did it need help, as Ike explains.

Dave’s Grasser looked a lot better on first blush than Ike’s Stover, but like the Stover it needed a lot of love to get back to running. And where Ike had broken pieces, Dave had a few major ones completely missing, chief among them the piston and connecting rod.

That wasn’t enough to stop Dave from getting the Grasser running. If anything, it provided the challenge he wanted. Working with instinct born of experience and employing some simple practices we can all learn from, Dave determined what he needed in the way of a piston and connecting rod, making the former from a billet of aluminum and crafting the latter from old parts. Where someone else might have seen a boat anchor, Dave’s ingenuity – combined with a healthy dose of mechanical skill and a good lathe – enabled him to envision a running engine.

Dave’s approach is an interesting study in contrasts compared to the labors we see this issue from regular engine man Peter Rooke. Faced with a good piston but a poor bore, Peter took the long road with his ongoing John Smyth restoration. Instead of cleaning up the existing bore and making a new piston, Peter figured out how to make a portable boring machine and re-sleeve his engine.

Ike, Dave and Peter display great talent and tenacity. While their approaches to their challenges were quite different, in each case they led to a successful conclusion.

Richard Backus, Editor-in-Chief; rbackus@gasenginemagazine.com