Crazy Engines, BIG AND SMALL

The Polo engine

The Polo engine, made by General Mfg. of Elkhart, IN.

Ian Cocker

Content Tools

9056 Riverside Drive Brighton, Michigan 48116

I enjoy going to shows more and more each year and looking over what's new in old engines. Crazy looking or crazy running engines seem to attract my attention most. (I guess I'm a little crazy too. I've heard others mention this often!)

Last spring I ran into a fellow at a swap meet who asked me if I had ever seen a Polo. (I was displaying my Webster inverted model.) I told him I hadn't even heard of one and he related he had a 2 HP one and a 4 HP one and knew of another gentleman who had one!

Well, I never thought much more about it because we all know that finding something this rare is just about impossible!

Then, at National Threshers Show held in Wauseon, Ohio, of all things to show up was a nicely restored Polo-fan and all. Wow! I got a couple of pictures of it and I was really pleased just to see one.

A few months later my good friend, Kenny Wolf, called to ask me if I'd like to work on a 'problem child', as his wife Wendy called it, a Polo.

Well it needed a lot of work. Lots and lots of parts missing. But I couldn't resist the challenge! We had to resort to using parts from other engines and a lot of machine work but finally got everything made and it looks real good! I'm taking it to the Zolfo Springs Show for its unpainted inauguration!

I did a 1? HP Webster inverted for Kenny last year that was just about the same way as the Polo, but worse, and it came out real good too. I made new valve boxes and installed a spark plug instead of the more common hot tube and a lot simpler (no bottled gas, valves, regulators or lines).

Mr. Wendel once mentioned the Atkinson cycle engine, there's a crazy one! I've seen the one at the Edison Institute and never really understood just how it worked. But now I know, or at least I think I do!

I contacted Tom Terning who I learned had made good sized castings (14' flywheel) of a scale model of an Atkinson and promptly got hold of a set! I've got to tell you the truth! Right up until it fired off I wouldn't have believed it! Every time I run it I get to laughing because it looks so funny running! How anyone ever came up with this idea way back in 1885 is beyond me, but I guess it served to show what wouldn't work or at least not too well!!

I enjoy building models but have been resorting to building a lot of duplicates for lack of quality examples. (I'm not into patternwork for my own castings.) I'm looking forward to building the Perkins engine that Bill DeBolt recently came out with and maybe one of the Type A Domestics that Starbolt has. (Remember, I made a Type A Stovepipe out of a Type F last winter.)

I'd like to see more of the unusual or oddball engines scaled instead of the common engines.

We seldom see examples of these rare beasts and if models were available, everyone could see them as more of the models would exist than the real thing. The Hagen would be a good example, it's really crazy with that chain driven carb, or maybe a Temple or United States inverted! Come on patternmakers, let's get with it!

Well I'd better get back to work, I've got to make a couple parts for my IHC Titan Sideshaft engines. (I have two of the 4 HP.) I need to make a complete carb assembly and governor assembly. These are not models either! Ever seen one?

They're crazy too and complicated!