Tractor Men Lured To Engine Hobby

L. I. John Deere Tractor

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8370 Kelsey Road, Batavia, New York 14020

Three years ago we took an L. I. John Deere, that we restored from bushel baskets of pieces, parts and a bare frame, to the annual steam show in our area. The compliments and comments on the job were plentiful and to say the least, we were proud as peacocks of our project!

There was only one slight problem; the row we had our tractor in was the row next to where the gas engines were. All we knew was that these were old gas engines, we had no idea what made them tick. Some looked massive and heavy and we saw several people puttering to get theirs running.

The sounds coming from that area were much different than any we had heard, almost luring or calling. We had to investigate. One gentleman came up while we were looking and started talking about his engines. He asked as he pointed to one, 'How many horsepower you think this one is?' Knowing that I once used a Remington 700 chainsaw that was 7 HP, I said, '20 HP.' He chuckled and said, '1 HP.' Then he pointed to one about three times the size of the first one and said, 'This one's only 4 HP.' This was it! As we went down the rows of engines asking questions and looking at all the different models, we had forgotten about our tractor for the rest of the afternoon.

None of the engines were for sale, but a veteran told us about a 5 HP Hercules that had a fine bark several years ago, about 40 miles away from us. We went that weekend to bring it home. Barring, wedging and straining, we learned fast about the weight of these animals. Finally loaded! After a brief explanation of how it was supposed to start, we were on our way home. The gentleman gave us these final words of wisdom, 'If ya' can't get it running',go see Lester Rosenthall.' We left and got home and both agreed we would get it going. The day lingered on, blisters on both our hands, we didn't worry about the blisters because in a few more vain attempts of spinning those flywheels, we knew that our arms were going to fall off and we wouldn't need to worry about the blisters!

The engine was still on the truck and we both agreed to take the engine to this Lester guy. Even the steering wheel on the drive there seemed to be frozen, from our arms aching so much, but we made it. We talked and told him our troubles. He looked things over and went and got some tools, and an old box of assorted spark plugs He made some adjustments to the mag, trip mechanism, carburetor and changed the plug. Then he told us to spin 'her' over a couple of times. Our arms said no, but our hearts said yes! Three times over and to our disbelief it was barking with a loud sweet sound that sent us into engine land!

It's been three years since that day and we've had numerous makes and models, numerous newly-learned swear words, and more skinned knuckles than we care to talk about. Oh yeah, and those wonderful buzz coils, who needs a stun gun when you have these? I still recall a few times when I thought my teeth would not stop chattering!

We have always wanted a 'Julian' and this year our pursuit paid off. Rebuilt, painted, new skids and woodwork and decked out, the R and V and the Julian are our latest conquests and we are proud as peacocks!