A Maytag-Powered Butt Buggy

Riding in style

butt buggy 1

James Gambrell's butt buggy powered by a Maytag 33 single-cylinder antique gas engine.

Photo by Bob Crowell

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While participating in our first show of the season in May 2009 at the Brown County Antique Engine and Tractor Show in Brown County, Ind., I was attracted to a little Maytag single-cylinder contraption that was putting around the grounds. 

Upon further investigation I found that the little Maytag belonged to James Gambrell of Columbia City, Ind. I soon learned that James called this little powerhouse The Maytag “Butt” Buggy! What a great name for this little powerhouse that was taking James all around the grounds with little effort.

The engine used is a Maytag Model 33 single-cylinder engine built around the 1930s. According to James, the buggy was built out of scrap found in a scrap pile around his home where he has been collecting rusty iron for over 28 years. Jim attends many tractor shows and gas engine shows and recalls that his first show was in Huntington, Ind. in 1981. 

James has been collecting gas engines most of his life and can remember his dad working with engines years ago. James worked with his dad on many old engines early in his life which like many of us collectors seems to be the spark that ignited the fire for our collecting habits. James owns approximately 25 engines of various sizes with names such as Titan, Mogul, International, London, Stover, Fairbanks-Morse, Bean, Monitor, Economy, United, Fuller-Johnson, Empire, and a 7 HP Plessissville which was made in Canada. James also told me that he has three IHC M understrike engines manufactured including a 1 1/2 HP (serial number A16847M), 3 HP (B3152M), and 6 HP (C1959M).

James is a true collector of very nice and rare gas engines and unusual equipment.  As James told me, “The rewards in this hobby are the smiles and compliments that people share with me when they view my unusual displays and pieces of equipment that I have built or restored." I can say that James sure has done a wonderful job of restoring items from the past and made a very nice demonstration for those folks that are interested in revisiting the past. 

People interested in talking engines or antique equipment may call James at 1-877-503-5921. 

Information and pictures submitted by Bob Crowell.  Bob and his wife, Linda travel to many antique farm equipment shows throughout the mid-west promoting steam, gas engine, antique garden tractors and antique tractor magazines. They may be reached at vintageequipmags@yahoo.com.