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Young Iron: Kevin Lightcap and Joe Alizieri

Friends in old iron

| April/May 2010

  • young iron
    Kevin Lightcap (left) with his 7 HP Witte and Joe Alizieri with his 2 HP Jaeger.

  • young iron

Take a quick glance at the exhibitors and attendees at gas engine shows, and it’s easy to think that this is an older person’s hobby. But take a closer look and you’ll find a growing number of younger enthusiasts. You’ll meet them in Young Iron.

Names: Kevin Lightcap and Joe Alizieri
Age: both 21
Location: Allentown, PA

 How long have you been collecting gas engines?
A: Kevin: About 10 years. I started out with the small Briggs & Stratton and Maytag engines, and about age 15 is when the hit-and-miss engine bug hit me!
Joe: About 5 years. Kevin, my best friend, got me interested in engines. The first one I bought was a Briggs & Stratton, and he helped me completely tear it apart and restore it to mint condition as a “learning project.” Now I have a 2 HP Jaeger hit-and-miss.

Q: What’s your favorite engine in your collection?
A: Kevin: My favorite engine in our collection would be the 7 HP Witte. Dad and I completely tore it down from the way we bought it, looking like it was in a field fire, to the beautiful slow running piece it is now! Of course, a big engine needs to make a little noise so I installed a 4-inch by 4-foot chrome stack for a muffler. Now it has a beautiful tone and really gathers attention at shows.
Joe: My favorite is my Jaeger, because it is my first engine. It is currently the only hit-and-miss engine I own, but there will be several more over time!

Q: Are you working on any projects?
A: Kevin: Yes! Last year at the Coolspring, Pa., show I bought a 5 HP Witte with a “rare” base, in pieces. It needed a lot of help and, being a machinist myself, I said, “I need a summer/winter project.” I have a journal of how the person I bought it from found it in a river bed buried half way in the ground to the completely overhauled engine it is today. Restoration involved reboring the head,  machining the custom-sized valve stems, turning down the outer edges of the flywheels, and machining brass grease cups, oil tube and all fuel/water fittings. All the missing pieces I made out of stainless steel to really make the show piece shine! 
Joe: I helped paint and assemble the same engine.

Q: As a young collector, what are some of the obstacles you’ve come across in the hobby?
A: Kevin: As a young child I could only buy the small engines that I could afford. After I started working as a machinist I was able to “expand” my budget! If it wasn’t for my grandfather being by my side growing up, I probably wouldn’t know so much about the hobby. He still goes to shows with us and I always see him smile at me when we’re out  enjoying time at shows.
Joe: Kevin helped me from the start, and I never gave up because I really wanted to learn about our history and how to continue preserving our heritage. Kevin’s grandfather loves “talking engine” with me at shows. I learn a lot from them both and others, and I’m always eager to learn more!


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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