Young Iron: Petey Woodward

For the past seven years, Petey Woodward has pursued his lifelong interest in old gas engines.

Petey Woodward

Collector Petey Woodward.

Photo by Gas Engine 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. I’ve actually been collecting about seven years, but I’ve had an interest in and worked on small engines all my life.

Q. What attracted you to the hobby?
A. I enjoy being able to get an engine that’s 50-plus years old running and in working order again.

Q. What engines do you have in your collection?
A. I have about 30 total. Rare/unusual ones would be: Briggs WMI Lever Start, Briggs WI Lever Start, Briggs I Lever Start, Briggs NS, Briggs Y Lever Start, Briggs NOS Aluminum Military Motor, and part of a Briggs FH Rope Start Twin Cylinder Maytag with LeClair Muffler.

Q. What is your favorite engine in your collection?
A. My favorite engine in my collection is the Briggs WMI Lever Start. It’s just a really nice little engine.

Q. What projects are you currently working on?
A. I have a Briggs Y Lever Start that I’m getting ready to work on.

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 and exhibit at the Pageant of Steam in Berryville, Virginia; Page County Heritage Festival in Page Co., Virginia; Somerset Steam & Gas Pasture Party in Orange Co., Virginia. I’d really like to go to the Coolspring Show & Swap Meet, in Coolspring, Pennsylvania.

Q. What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A. I think that because of the American Pickers-type TV shows and eBay, people tend to overestimate the value of their engines and then overprice them. Finding time to work on engines can be difficult since I work full-time.

Q. What are your favorite engines and why?
A. My favorite engines are Briggs & Stratton and Maytag. They’re the easiest to get running and I can usually find parts for them.

Q. If money weren’t an issue, what is your dream engine to own?
A. A Briggs Model F. They’re awesome-looking engines and are very rare.

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