Sixty-Year-Old Dream Finally Comes True

Little Maytag

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D.D.S. Box 146, 51 West Center Heber City, Utah 84032

Back in about the year 1933, I was a 13 year old boy living with my family on a farm in Mapleton, Utah. I had a keen interest in all sorts of mechanical things, and one day I located a model 82 Maytag engine that was for sale for $5.00. You have to remember that $5.00 in those days was a lot of money, about the equivalent of a day's wage for a grown man with a fairly good job. I really wanted that engine! I had dreams and visions in my mind of building my own Maytag powered car.  

There just was not enough money in the Whiting budget to buy the engine. My father, however, was a considerate man, and even though he needed me to help on our farm he let me go and get a job in a local orchard picking pie cherries. Pie cherries are the tiny tart ones. The pay was one cent per pound. Believe me, picking one hundred pounds of pie cherries in a day was extremely' hard work. However, the thought of acquiring that little Maytag and building a car drove me on until I had earned enough money to buy the engine.

Building the car was the next project. At age thirteen, my mechanical abilities were not yet fully developed. The tools available were limited. Power transmission parts needed to slow the engine speed down became somewhat of a problem. At that time V-belts and pulleys were in early stages of development and were almost unheard of. They were not readily available, especially as used ones, and so I used homemade flat leather belts running on homemade wood pulleys. For the wheels I used four wheels off of a coaster wagon. I used 2x2 lumber for a frame, fastened together with bolts and nails. It was not completely rigid, so there was great difficulty in keeping the belts on. Shall we say, the little car was not exactly a 100% success.

Life went on anyway, and I finished high school, and college, and then served as an officer in the Navy over in the Pacific during World War Two. After the war my wife, Florine, and I purchased a home in Heber City, Utah. I set up a dental practice, raised a family, and became involved in community affairs.

Now that I am semi-retired I have more time to pursue my hobby of collecting and restoring old engines, etc., and while I collect all sorts of smaller type 'collectibles' my passion is still Maytags. The number of Maytags in my collection is about forty. Florine asks me, 'Just how many Maytags do you need in your collection?' The answer is always the same, 'Just one more!'

Sixty years after my first attempt to build a Maytag-powered car, I still had the dream of building a Maytag-powered vehicle. I chose to build a little tractor. I used the excuse that I was building it for my grandson, Chase Harrison, but I have to admit that it was really to satisfy that sixty-year-old dream. This time I was much more prepared. I have now developed my mechanical skills, and I have a well equipped workshop. Over the years I have collected numerous small power transmission parts.

For the little tractor, an old riding lawn mower provided front axles, differential, and transmission. For safety's sake I built it with a 'dead man' type clutch. The clutch must be depressed to make the tractor go. When the pressure is released the tractor stops. Of course it is powered by a twin cylinder Maytag engine.

It is difficult to tell who is most pleased with this newly built little tractor, me or my grandson Chase. We are both enjoying it a lot.

If you are planning on attending the National Meet of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association scheduled to be held in Salt Lake City next September, you will probably have a chance to see my little sixty-year-old Maytag dream tractor.