On the Road Again

Ideal engine

Content Tools

12143 SE 147th, Portland, OR 97236

It was 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning when Charlie called to let us know that Craig could bring the trailer over that afternoon and pick up 'that thing' out in back of Charlie's barn. After church we hooked up the tandem wheel trailer and proceeded over to Charlie's house some three miles from our place.

Charlie Vander Zanden is a throw back to the old time automobile mechanic with a barn and garage full of unusual pieces and equipment. When we arrived he was working on a 1935 International Cat, overhauling the engine. After visiting awhile and showing us around, Charlie took Craig and me out back to look at this thing sitting in the weeds and bushes. Charlie said he rescued it just before two guys hauled it off for scrap metal some thirty years ago. He had always planned to get it running but somehow never quite found the time to finish the job.

He liked my fifteen-year-old's interest in old engines and wanted Craig to take the project over. So Craig dug out his fifty dollars and the exchange was made. After some discussion and planning we finally backed the trailer up to this piece and put the winch on it for loading. A few grunts and groans from Charlie and Craig and we saw it safely fastened down for its first movement in some thirty years.

After getting it home, unloaded, cleaned, and examined, we were unable to find identifying marks or lettering. Since then we have shown it to several collectors and even took it to Brooks, our local gas engine show, where an old timer did give us a piece of information. 'You need a big garden to turn it around,' he said as he stood grinning in the hot sunshine.

Craig is looking for any information that readers can provide. He thinks it is powered by an Ideal engine, air cooled. We found a picture at the bottom of page 214 in the Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors by C. H. Wendel, that looks like ours.

The length is 9 feet; the width is 4 feet 6 inches. It is powered by the front wheels which are taken in and out of gear for steering by levers on each handle. The single flywheel is 18 inches in diameter, solid and must weigh some 200 pounds. The tractor has a 6-inch plow underneath.

Craig and I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can help us identify this unusual piece and the type of engine. We have started restoration. Suggestions and assistance would be greatly appreciated so we can get it 'on the road again.'