Young Iron: Tyler Whiteneck

Tyler Whiteneck is rebuilding the engine and tractor collection he grew up with.

Tyler Whiteneck

Tyler Whiteneck with some of his tractors and engines.

Photo courtesy Tyler Whiteneck

Content Tools

Take a quick glance at the exhibitors and attendees at gas engine shows, and it’s easy to think that this is an older person’s hobby. But take a closer look and you’ll find a growing number of younger enthusiasts. You’ll meet them here in Young Iron.

Tyler Whiteneck, Age 16, Hamburg, PA

Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?

A: I’ve been collecting for about three years, starting with a 1-1/2 hp McCormick engine.  

Q: What attracted you to the hobby?

A: My dad has been collecting engines and tractors for a long time. I grew up around engines and tractors. My dad sold all of the engines and tractors when I was young. Now I am starting to get interested, after seeing pictures and hearing about all the stuff we had. I’m starting to get a lot of the engines back, but I’m still a long way from the original collection size.

Q: Who else in your family collects engines?

A: My father collects engines with me. My grandfather collected a lot of engines for a long time.

Q: How many engines do you have in your collection? Any rare or unusual ones?

A: I have eight engines and three tractors altogether. Maytag model 72, Briggs model N and S, a scale York engine, Jeager 2 hp Model S, Gray 1-1/2 hp, McCormick 1-1/2 and 3 hp, and three Power King tractors. Three of the big hit-and miss engines are rare. The 1-1/2 hp McCormick has the Bosch magneto and the 3 hp McCormick has an early two- needle kerosene carburetor. The last is the Gray 1-1/2 hp engine. 

Q: What is your favorite engine in your collection and why?

A: My favorite engine would be the Gray engine. It’s a small engine that I don’t see around very much. The last show I went to there were only two of them and one was for sale for over $1,000. 

Q: Are you working on any restoration projects?

A: The only major project that I am working on is a custom tractor. It’s a Power King frame with a Crosley engine. My dad and I just finished the 2 hp Jeager engine a couple of months ago.

Q: Which shows do you normally attend each year?

A: The Pennsylvania shows I go to are Antique Engine, Tractor and Toy Show at Bowers Park in Bowers, Jacktown-Blue Mountain Antique Gas & Steam Engine show in Bangor, Burnt Cabins Grist Mill Antique Tractor Show at Burnt Cabins campground, and the Gratz Area Antique Machinery Tractor Show at Gratz fairgrounds. The show that I would like to go to is the Coolspring engine show in Coolspring, Pennsylvania.

Q: What are some of the obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?

A: The most difficult obstacle would be price. A lot of people that are selling engines want too much for them. The other major obstacle would be time; I can only work on projects a couple of hours at night after school.

Q: What are your favorite engines in general and why?

A: My favorite engines are Fairbanks-Morse engines. I like the look and sound of the upright engines. The engines always fascinate me, how fast they can run for such a big engine.

Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine?

A: My dream engine would be a Fairbanks-Morse upright. I like the look and sound of them.

Young Iron is looking for gas engine collectors, age 35 and younger. If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, please contact us at (800) 682-4704 or