A Brief Word

| April/May 2000

I am very pleased to report that work is moving ahead on our planned visit to the 8th Australian National Rally scheduled for March 2001 in Tasmania. Our friend Dudley Russell, a native of Tasmania, has done much of the work in organizing the tour. As a collector, Dudley knows that it is important to collectors that they see some 'old iron' nearly every day, and that's exactly what he is planning. Of course, we'll be seeing some fine scenery too, but have no doubt-this will be an 'old iron' tour! At this point we can't tell you exactly where we'll be going and what we'll see, but perhaps by next issue we can tell you more. By the May or June issue of GEM, we will probably be running a formal advertisement of the tour, but we offer a suggestion: If you are interested in going to Australia next February/March, drop a line to ye olde Reflector right here at GEM. That will help us in planning. The tour will be limited to one coach, or about 40 people. If there is enough interest, we might also have an extension to New Zealand.

Talk about power! Those big 747-400 planes that make the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney carry 50 tons of fuel, and have a maximum gross liftoff weight of 450 tons! Those big jet engines will accelerate to liftoff in about 50 seconds!

Our new book, Standard Catalog of Farm Tractors, was to have been released in May 2000. We fear that it may be delayed somewhat. Our editor at Krause Publications was involved in an automobile accident. Jon Brecka was driving home on slippery roads when broadsided by a pickup. This was just before Christmas. He was dreadfully injured, and as of this writing (February 6) remains in a coma. As the rest of his body heals, his brain might also heal. Even if he regains consciousness, it is now thought that he will never work again. So, other editors at Krause are dividing up his work, and what would have been an easy deadline is now in jeopardy.

Computers are a great invention, and we use one every day. However, these great inventions sometimes have their disadvantages. Due to an inadvertent download onto my puter, a whole bunch of things were disrupted, including my email address of We couldn't understand why our email suddenly dried up, and then discovered that about a week's worth of messages were in cyberspace. We finally got our provider to patch this address into another email service we already have, and now we get our messages again, but those sent before the patch are alas, in deep space somewhere. The big problem is that we also have temporarily lost our address book! Well, so it goes ... we still wouldn't dream of being without our computer!

Speaking of email, we have no problem at all when you send in your queries this way, but please include your regular mailing address. Lots of our subscribers do not use email, so they have no way of contacting you with a response!

We've had all kinds of things to keep us busy this winter, but come warm weather, we want to get started on our 1914 Buick engine. It has an interesting background. Shortly after buying the car, the owner had an altercation with a locomotive, and the locomotive won. The car was a wreck, and someone bought the engine to use as a power plant in a home machine shop. Eventually it fell into disuse, and remained in place for some years. It then went through a couple of different collectors, and finally came to our place about ten years ago. The engine ran beautifully (it obviously has been run very little) and we always had plans of restoring it. Finally, in 2000, the old Buick will be running again, 85+ years after it left the factory! The moral of the story is that we hope that all of you are thinking along the same lines, and will present the gas engine fraternity with some new restorations this year!


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