Gas Engine Magazine

Getting Started With A New Hobby

By Staff

75 Kendall Avenue Framingham, Massachusetts 01701

Late in September 1985 while visiting the annual Holiday in the
Hills affair at Victory, Vermont, I found myself on a large field
in the Gallup Mills section of Victory.

This was my introduction to the field of antique gasoline
engines-about 40 old engines were on the field that day.

One year later, I returned to this same field and found the
engine show to be in full activity again.

After looking at most of the engines and talking to some of
their owners, I said that I would return a year later with an
engine if I could find one to purchase.

Much to my surprise, I did find one at Holliston, Massachusetts,
and I bought it-a Stover CT-1.

Even though I knew very little about gasoline engines, I was
able to get it running without any major changes but it was obvious
to me that improvements could be made to its operation. Partway
into taking this engine apart, I decided to purchase a couple of
smaller engines in order to get some maintenance experience. This
would be in addition to a small gasoline-driven generator which I
have owned for the past 20 years.

The first engine I bought was found at the Orange, Massachusetts
engine show in 1987-a Briggs & Stratton Model N (1940-1952)
that would not run.

After locating a parts list for this machine, I was able to
replace several missing parts and I was successful in getting the
engine running. With the cooperation of some National Guard garage
personnel, I was able to repaint the engine in its original
color-Army Drab. The next one was a Briggs & Stratton Model 5S
(1949-1957). To my surprise, this engine was quite a bit different
than the Model N.

After cleaning the inside of the gasoline tank, replacing the
fuel pipe and reassembling the breather assembly, I was able to get
this engine running. I applied a coat of black paint to this
engine, and gained a feeling of accomplishment and

The next one to reach the work bench was a World War II Signal
Corps power unit identified as PE88A. This is a 350-watt generator
driven by a single cylinder Onan Model 358 gasoline engine.
Investigation revealed a carburetor problem plus the need for a
couple of new gaskets. After purchasing a piece of cork material, I
cut two new gaskets and I was also able to clear an electrical
problem in the unit’s control box. A coat of Army paint
completed the work needed on this fine unit. It is now mounted on a
pair of wooden skids and wheels taken from an old power mower.

One more engine had been acquired at the Orange, Massachusetts
show-a Maytag Twin that would not start. John Rex of Chelmsford,
Massachusetts, a magneto expert, charged the magnets inside the
Twin’s flywheel at another engine show, and the engine came
back to life. However, one year later, it would not start up and
the magnets have been determined as being satisfactory.

This brings us up to September 1987 when I returned to the
engine show at Victory, Vermont. By this time, I had learned that
this engine show was sponsored by the Vermont Gas and Steam Engine
Association and I had joined the Straw Hollow Engine Works group at
Boylston, Massachusetts. For this show I brought the generator
unit, the Maytag Twin and two Briggs & Stratton engines-all
performed excellent.

During the past year I purchased four more small Briggs &
Stratton engines, together with one made by Reo Motors, Inc., and a
1? HP Witte ‘one lunger’ which needs a lot of work. I also
acquired a Smith-Langmaid marine engine during the past year. So
far, I have been unable to find any information about this unit.
Its ignition system is missing and I was successful in freeing its
frozen piston. This engine presents a challenge and to my way of
thinking, the challenges presented and the satisfaction realized
when an engine comes back to life make the restoration of antique
gasoline engines a most interesting hobby.

  • Published on Jan 1, 1989
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