3821 Hope St. Klamath Falls, Oregon 97603
I’ve read in GEM many times how someone was given an engine
and I thought: ‘That could never happen to this kid!’
How wrong I was in my thinking, because two years ago on a rainy
March afternoon, I got a phone call from a friend of mine, who
asked me if I would be interested in a Graham-Paige rototiller. He
thought there was an engine on the property somewhere, too! I told
him I’d be there in 30 minutes. I got my son and piled into the
pickup and drove over there. It was still raining like there was no
When we got there, Henry motioned to us to drive around to the
barn. There sat the tiller. The recoil starter was gone and the
muffler was rusted through, but the engine wasn’t stuck and it
showed promise; you gotta think positively!!
It took four of us to lift it into the truck and in the process,
I came across the engine that he had told me about.
It had been covered with an old canvas, which made it look more
like a big rock. When we uncovered it, it was a small 1? HP engine;
the name tag on the water hopper read: ‘Little Jumbo, Mfg. by
Nelson Bros., Saginaw, Mich., 1? HP Style
I looked up at my friend grinning ear to ear and asked him if he
wanted to sell it. He said no, but if I wanted it, I could have it.
And he said: ‘If it is left here, the scrap truck is coming
tomorrow, and anything that is still here will go to the
I even got to take an old pump jack I found lying on its side in
the field. We got home soaked to the skin, but very happy about our
truck load of iron. My wife sort of looked at us like we were
certifiably nuts and told us to make sure she could get her car in
It took a lot of time and patience and most of all a lot of
searching for parts. The Jumbo was missing its carburetor and the
paddle-like valve lever was broken. A gentleman from Redlands,
California was kind enough to send me a picture of his Jumbo, which
was a great help and kept me from making some errors.
Once I had all the parts, I started to work on the Jumbo. I got
the head off with a little WD-40 and a lot of patience, and got the
valves to come out with no trouble at all. Since the engine had
been covered, the rust was kept to a minimum, and I found enough of
the original paint to find some paint that came pretty close to
make a good match. I used Pittsburgh’s Plantation Green and it
turned out great.
For a gas tank, I used an old float from the junk pile where I
work, and for the exhaust pipe, I used a small section of Schedule
40 brass pipe. When I finished the restoration and cranked it up
for the first time, it let out a low hollow pop and kept on
running, smooth as you please.
I can hardly wait for the Spring Gas-Up, because this one may
very well be the only Jumbo there. There is one thing though, that
I still need, a recoil starter and a muffler for a Graham-Paige
B1-6. If anyone out there can help me in this area, please let me
In closing, I’d like to say that while I’ve been in this
hobby I have some of the best memories and have met some of the
kindest people I’ve ever known. In my book, it is people like
this that make this hobby one of the best!