Young Iron: Derek Quistorff

Derek Quistorff may be young, but he’s a serious collector of gas engines.

Derek Quistorff at Little Log House Show

Collector Derek Quistorff, age 16, with one of his engines.

Photo Courtesy MC Staff

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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 in Young Iron.

Q: How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: Five years, though I’ve been interested in collecting gas engines since I was about 3 years old. When I was little my parents took me to the Little Log House show in Hastings, Minn. I saw an engine with a lot of moving parts and a nice steady beat run, and I was hooked. I’ve been interested in old gas engines ever since.

Q: Who else in your family collects engines?
A: Nobody. My older siblings have little to no interest. My parents on the other hand like to watch and listen to them run, and they are supportive of me collecting.

Q: What engines do you have in your collection?
A: The engines that I have are: 1941 Briggs & Stratton WMB, Briggs & Stratton Model N, 1945 IHC 1-1/2 HP - 2-1/2 HP LB, 1927 IHC 1-1/2 HP M, 1927 Fairbanks-Morse 2 HP Z Dishpan with a water pump and 1925 IHC 3 HP M.

Q: What is your favorite engine in your collection?A: My IHC 1-1/2 HP M, because it has a very nice beat to it and a lot of moving parts. I also like it because I bought it from Roger Kinsey, and without him I’m pretty sure this engine wouldn’t be running and I wouldn’t have it.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: My IHC 3 HP M needs some work with the fuel system, mainly replacing the worn and nearly broken throttle shaft and trying to get the slop out of the throttle/governor linkage. The valves on it are worn, but I think they will last for a little before I have to replace them.

Q: Which shows do you normally attend each year? What show haven’t you been to yet that you’d like to see one day?
A: I normally attend the Root River show in Spring Valley, Minn., and if I get the time I attend the Le Sueur Pioneer Power show, the Stearns County Pioneer Club show in Albany, Minn., and the Rice County Steam and Gas Engine Show in Dundas, Minn. But this year I want to get to Rollag because I hear it’s a really big show and it takes days to see it all.

Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A: Money is one of the big ones. It also doesn’t help that I don’t have a full-time job and that I’m 16 years old. All of my engines that I own right now have been bought by selling aluminum cans and birthday/Christmas money. The other big one is being taken seriously. When I show at the Little Log House show people usually assume I don’t know a thing about my engines and they almost always ask my parents before me. After my parents tell them that they are my engines, people are surprised that some kid is interested in collecting old engines.

Q: What are your favorite engines and why?
A: Sideshaft engines. There aren’t many of them around and they almost always have a lot of moving parts that you can watch all day.

Q: If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A: Something big that wouldn’t fit in my dad’s garage.


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 Associate Editor Beth Beavers: (800) 682-4704 or bbeavers@gasenginemagazine.com.