Backyard GRAY

Gray engine

Content Tools

11365 Stage Road Akron, New York 14001

One spring day my family and I came home from a ride in the country and found an engine dumped in my side yard. After examining it, I found it to be a Gray 1? HP that my friend Dale Siminski had been telling me about that was in a friend's backyard for twenty-five years or so. The engine had never been covered or protected from rain or snow. Somehow it miraculously survived the elements. However, there were no two moving pieces that were not frozen together. No cracks or breaks, just a lot of rust.

I called Dale on the telephone and told him that if he wanted my help restoring it, I would be glad to do so. He came over that evening and told me if I could make it run it was mine. If I couldn't, he wanted it back to plant flowers in. I took another look at it and told him not to buy any petunias. At the time this all took place, I was working on my Seyfang five-horse vertical air cooled (that story to follow in a future article) and I kept walking by the Gray and wondering if I shouldn't be buying Dale some petunias instead of having to eat my words. But what I did was kept spraying it with penetrating oil every time I walked by. All of a sudden things started to loosen up, so I began to call my expert friends and ask a bunch of questions

The day before Craig Prucha's May 2000 Gasup, I had finally succeeded in tearing it down. When I got to the Gasup I was telling the guys about my Gray engine and how well the tear-down had gone, when Craig told me that Dave Yorks had one in the back of his pickup. Well, I chased Dave down right away to ask if I could shoot some pictures of it to go by when 1 started to reassemble mine. He said sure. To my surprise, he had a beautiful engine (see above) which helped me a bunch. I still was not sure I was going to be able to rebuild this myself, but I was willing to try. I called Ed Deis at Hit & Miss and he told me to bring her on down and he would take a look at what I had.

After doing so, he told me the bearings would all be good except for one. I had him make me a new wrist pin, rod bearing and a gas tank. My friend Stiles Bradley poured the one crank bearing. Dave Johnson fixed a head stud and trimmed the flywheels. A good friend, Dave Markowitz, let me blast all the castings and clean the crank at his local machine shop. My friend Carl from the car dealer down the road pinstriped my paint job. An old friend, Lester Rosenthai, supplied some odd parts, i.e. a buzz coil. And my close friend Curtis Krueske spent a bunch of evenings in my shop making sure I made no mistakes. My first love is wood working, so you know who made the cart.

And last, but not least by any means, my wonderful wife Linda and my kids Amanda and Jake helped in many different ways, including encouragement. As you can see, it's quite evident the restoration went well. She showed nicely at Alexander and met with a great review. Thanks to all who helped.