REFLECTIONS

A BRIEF WORD


| February/March 1986



4 HP engine

21/2/1a

Jim Schifferer

Now that we are well into winter, collectors everywhere are busily at work getting more engines restored. We are certain of this, because of the large amount of mail coming in this month.

It is hard to believe that some 25 years ago when the Reflector first got serious about gas engines, this hobby was considered offbeat to say the least. Our first engine was a 6 HP John Deere on factory trucks, with clutch pulley, and in running order. Its fault was that the top of the fuel tank had rusted enough that oil got into the fuel, creating all sorts of problems. Since the engine only cost us $5, we traded it off in short order for a 5 HP Economy engine it too was subsequently traded for something else.

Although the recent decline in prices generally has made our personal collection go down in 'book value', the decline has perhaps jolted collectors into reality once again. Granted, the very rare engines still command exceptional prices, but the ordinary garden variety engines have returned to values that make it possible for almost anyone to enjoy the hobby of collecting and restoring old gas engines and tractors. For this writer, there has been a unique thrill to completely rebuilding a vintage engine, bringing it up to or beyond original specs, painting it up again, and listening to it once again come back to life. We hope all of you can have the same pleasure we have enjoyed from our hobby.

The December GEM illustrated what can happen when an engine catches fire. Take heed! Carry a fire extinguisher; don't leave your engine unattended; and never run your engine if there is fuel leaking someplace. So, please be careful!

Although somewhat belated, the Reflector wishes each and all of you the Best for the New Year, 1986.

21/2/1 Q. The adjacent photograph (21/2/1a) illustrates a 4 HP engine built by Hercules Buggy Company, Evansville, Indiana. Although this engine is very similar to both the Hercules and the Economy, the specifications are different. This unit has a 5 x 9 inch bore and stroke, 28 inch flywheels, and a 2 inch crank. The 4 HP Economy uses a 4 x 9 inch bore and stroke, 1 inch crank and 26 inch flywheels. Is this engine an early Hercules, and if so, how old might it be? The engine had traces of red paint compared to the green color indicated in your column previously.