Gas Engine Magazine


By Staff

ALLEN F. WHEELER, 83, of Louisville, Kentucky, passed away
February 22nd following a long illness. He was a charter member of
the Kentuckiana Pioneer Power Association, Inc.

Known to his many engine collecting friends as ‘Pop’
Wheeler, he loved working with old engines. He welcomed the
challenge of a ‘Hope less’ project, and spent many hours
restoring his engines to better than new perfection. Perhaps more
than the engine, he enjoyed visiting with friends at the many shows
he attended. As an engine buddy mentioned at ‘Pop’s’
funeral, he was ‘always consistent…always in a good
mood’. Three of his sons, Jim, Warren, and Lloyd, are also old
iron collectors and will hopefully keep his tradition of high
craftsmanship and friendliness alive.

Submitted by: Dave Baas, Vice President of KPPA

‘I regret to announce the loss of my grandfather, HOWARD E.
VAN DRIEST, of Concord Township, Painesville, Ohio on January 26,
1989. He was born July 13, 1910 in Euclid, Ohio.

He began working for the Cleveland Tractor Company in the
1930’s and eventually became Experimental Engineer. He was
influential in the development of most of the models of Cletracs
and later Oliver crawlers. (Oliver bought Cletrac in 1946). He
spent many hours in the dynamometer room, and made many trips to
Hercules in Canton developing engines for the tractors. He also
travelled all over North America, trouble-shooting and correcting
problems nobody else could figure out. After Oliver Corporation
shut down the Cleveland Plant in 1961, he went into the excavating
business with his son Howard.

Van Driest collected many antique engines and tractors,
including numerous Cletracs and a 28-50 Hart Parr. He also owned a
1930 Model A Ford coupe and a 20 HP Buffalo Pitts steam traction
engine, which he displayed at many shows in Ohio.

He was a director of the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society of
Northwestern Pa. and of the Historical Engine Society in Kirkland,
Ohio. He was a member of the Ashtabula County Antique Engine Club,
Penn-Ohio Model A Ford Club, U.S.D.A Stabilization Service, and a
life member of the National Rifle Association.

He is survived by his wife Olive, a brother, a son and daughter,
four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Gramps and I were best friends and were almost always together
since I was born. He taught me about every thing I know about
mechanics. Together, we restored a General tractor when I was ten.
We got into this antique engine hobby in 1975. He always said that
he ‘brung me up’ and I know he did it right.’

Submitted by Blake Malkamaki, 10839 Girdled Road, Concord
Twp. Painesville, Ohio 44077.

On December 11, 1988, Big JOHN BRIGHAM of Big John’s
Stagecoach Lines, Inc., died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack
at age 51.

Big John appeared as the character ‘Big John’ on Bill
Mack’s Western weekend movie program on KXTX-TV Channel 39 in
the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Big John owned the stagecoach that was used to give free rides
at the 1988 Holland Corn Festival. He and I had become close
friends due to his interest in antique tractors. Big John had seen
my antique ‘D’ John Deeres at a show and he wanted one also
so he contacted me to see if I could find him one. Later, when I
found out what business Big John was in, I told the Festival
committee that Big John leased stagecoaches to festivals and events
all over Texas. We then arranged to have one at our festival.

His stagecoaches and train cars were used in various affairs
such as the State Fair, the Texas Sesquicentennial Trail Ride
across Texas and many others.

Big John and I had a trip to Kansas planned for early January,
1989 and were were going to bring back some antique tractors, one
of which was the ‘D’ I had found for Big John.

Big John was a likeable Texan with lots of friends, always
dressed as a stagecoach driver. He was carried to his final resting
place by his own wagon and mules. He was a member of the Texas
Early Day Tractor and Engine Association and subscribed to Gas
Engine Magazine.

Submitted by Darwin ‘Monk’ Ivicic, Chairman of the
Holland Com Festival, P. O. Box 333, Holland, Texas,

NORMAN WILSON, 78, of Ocheyedan, Iowa passed away January 21,

He was a farmer and pioneer gas engine and Model ‘T’ man
having shown at the Butterfield, Minnesota Show for 18 consecutive

Norman loved to drive in a parade and blow the many whistles on
the Little Red ‘T’ Racer.

His infectious smile and laughter will always be remembered.

Submitted by Ed Wheeler, Sibley, Iowa.

  • Published on May 1, 1989
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