The Stover In My Neighbor's Backyard

(Or Why didn't I know about this one before now?)

Stover removed from Mixer

The Stover after we removed it from the mixer. Still has traces of original paint and decals.

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401 N. Loyalsock Ave, Montoursville, Pennsylvania 17754

To start this story I'd better give you the lay of the land in my neighbor hood. I live on the edge of my town in an area where the lots are long and sort of narrow. They front on a typical residential street and run back to my father's tree farm and an adjacent auto repair shop. My father built the house I live in so he could be near his business. Although he no longer lives in the house, he still has the nursery, and I work with him. My daily trek to work consists of about a one hundred yard walk. Now for the story:

It was one day in October of '92 while walking home from work that one of the mechanics at the garage stopped me to ask if in my travels I could keep my eyes open for a particular old car he was looking for. As we talked, the conversation slid from one topic to another, until we ended up talking about old engines. The fellow knew I was a collector, as he had been by my shop and had seen me working on my engines. I told him of some engines I knew of and was going to check out. He said, 'Instead of chasing all over creation trying to find those things, why don't you buy the one your neighbor has?' I was confused, having lived in this neighborhood for 24 years and knowing there were no engines nearby. So I asked him, 'What engine what neighbor has?' He pointed to a small stand of trees and brush at the back of a neighbor's lot just over 50 yards from my workshop and said, 'Right over there. There's an old hit and miss engine over there in a cement mixer.' I promptly told him he was nuts. He swore up and down it was there and he had seen it. He also said his boss was the one who showed it to him and told him what it was. (He had seen it before he had seen my engines.)

I again told him I thought he was nuts, but that I would check it out on my way home. I also asked him why he hadn't told me before now. He said he had forgotten about it until now. I walked over to the back of the lot he pointed to, and made my way through the brush. I went in about five yards, and lo and behold, there was an old mixer sitting there! One of those with the big box on the back that you know has an engine in it. So far the guy at the garage was right. I cautiously made my way over to the mixer and proceeded to open the latches on the back cover. I slowly removed the cover and peered in. Sure enough, it was a Stover CT-2, but this wasn't just any Stover. This was a Stover I could have hit with a well placed rock thrown from the doorway of my shop. How could this engine have been there all this time without my knowing about it. Guess I never thought about checking out the neighborhood for engines.

The Stover was missing the head and anything that was attached to it. It was also missing the mag and mag bracket. I was a little disappointed at the missing parts, but it was an engine, and it turned over. The bore looked in good shape and there was no ice damage as the head was missing, so the engine wouldn't hold water. The engine's being inside the mixer all those years helped, too. I decided that it was worth having, so I waited for my neighbor to get home from work so I could strike a deal. You think this would be the easy part, right? WRONG!

My neighbor got home and I rushed over to see about the engine. The response I got was, 'OH! That's not my mixer, it belonged to a friend of mine who did some concrete work for me years ago. The mixer broke down while we were using, it so he just let it sit.' I asked if he had the owner's name and phone number. I got a name and that was all. I had hit a dead end, as the owner's name wasn't in the phone book.

I was trying to decide what my next step should be when a friend of mine from work stopped by for a visit. I told him of my find and my dilemma. He asked the owner's name. When I told him, he got this big smile on his face and started to chuckle. I wanted to know what was so funny. Turns out he had worked with the guy's son for years at his old job. He asked if he could use my phone. Several minutes later he had the owner's son on the phone. He explained the situation and asked if the engine might be for sale. The son said it wasn't his place to make the decision, but he would pass the information on to his father and that they would get back to me. I figured I was sunk and would never hear from them. Not even five minutes had passed when the phone rang. It was the owner himself. He had forgotten about the old mixer and was surprised anyone would want it. I told him I was a collector and wanted to restore it. We talked for awhile and I told him of the missing parts and asked if he knew their whereabouts. He assured me that all the parts were there when he parked it.

We talked awhile longer and then a deal was struck. Not only did I get the engine, but the whole mixer for a price I couldn't refuse. Next morning I borrowed a tractor from work and dragged the mixer to my shop with the help of my friend from work and a fellow engine nut who happened to stop by. We cut the mounting bolts and removed the engine from the mixer. It looked pretty good, other than the missing parts which I tried to track down with no success. I have since purchased a head, rocker arm, rocker arm bracket, and a mag. I'm still in need of a fuel mixer to get the old girl going. If anybody has a spare, drop me a line.

In closing, I have one piece of advice. Before going out to scour the country side for an old engine, check out that brush pile behind your neighbor's house. You never know what you might find.