306 Mountain Brook Drive Cumming, Georgia 30130
It’s been several years since I wrote to your magazine about
SHALDA (named for my grandchildren): SHane, ALlen, and DAwn), my
1921 Hercules 6 S HP one cylinder gasoline engine, serial #361019.
I call it a 1921 because that is the year I was born.
My first story about SHALDA was published in the
November/December 1980 issue of GEM. Since that time the original
body deteriorated and had to be replaced. I saw a picture of a T
model Ford Depot Hack (or canopy express) and copied that basic
style. I used 1×2 steel tubing for posts and supports and used
5/4 x 12 inch step tread lumber for the body.
To cut wind resistance while towing or hauling I left the
A large number of 1 to 3 HP engines are on lawnmower or garden
tractor frames, but the 5, 6, or larger engines are just sitting
around on skids or truck beds. Why not put them to work, too?
With that in mind, this is how SHALDA was built. I bought the
engine from a friend in 1973. I used a 1950 Ford pickup frame which
I stripped down to a rolling chassis. I cleaned and painted the
frame before mounting the engine. The engine was hoisted into
position over the frame and two pieces of four inch channel iron
were welded to the frame for motor supports. I had to relocate the
steering sector back 19 inches to make room for the engine.
Next the engine was placed on the supports and four holes were
drilled through the base and the engine was bolted to the supports.
To eliminate any movement of the engine while running, nuts were
welded on each side of the front and rear of the engine
A right angle one to one gear ratio gear box (in my case from a
junked lime spreader truck, but any right angle gear box will work
just as well) was placed underneath inside the engine base. I
removed the right flywheel and added a 10 inch V pulley and
replaced the flywheel. An eight inch V pulley was mounted on the
right angle gear box. An idler pulley was bolted to the base and a
5/8 inch V belt was installed. This one belt pulls the vehicle. A
four speed transmission from a 1946 Ford panel truck replaced the
original three-speed transmission. (I don’t recommend using a
three-speed transmission since the higher gearing will cause the
engine to labor and stall). The idler pulley on the V belt acts as
a clutch. For those wanting to use a pressure plate and throw out
bearing, replace the V pulleys and V belt with a sprocket and
chain. A chain drive will eliminate any slippage you will get when
the belt gets wet. A short driveshaft is hooked from the right
angle gear box to the transmission, giving SHALDA a top speed of 12
miles per hour.
The original gas tank was removed from beneath the engine and a
three gallon tank was mounted to the right side of the body. The
engine originally ran on a magneto, but has since been adapted to
run on a coil, Chevrolet points, and a 12 volt battery. It has a
Model A Ford updraft carburetor and a hand throttle. An alternator
is pulled off the flywheel. I suggest you remove three of the four
diodes from the alternator since all four will cause the engine to
pull too hard and one diode is all that is needed to charge the
To transport SHALDA to shows and parades I either haul it on a
trailer, or for short distances, tow it behind my pickup truck. If
towing a vehicle like SHALDA, remember to unhook the driveshaft
from the rear end. Towing with the driveshaft connected for a long
distance can damage the needle bearings in the transmission. I
found that out the hard way and had to replace a transmission.
I use a detachable tow bar mounted by drilling holes in the end
of the frame and sliding a inch steel pipe through the frame and
tow bar. This allows the tow bar to move up and down but not
sideways. For showing or parades the tow bar is removed and
replaced with a 2,8 wood bumper.
The front fenders are homemade and are fastened to the inside of
the brake hubs. I found a pair of headlights in a junkyard that
looked like they were made for SHALDA. They even burn! The rear
fenders are from a trailer supply company.
If you think it is expensive to build, it’s not. A
suggestion would be, you find the parts and material, then let a
high school automotive shop build it. The students would rather
work on it than to eat when they are hungry.
SHALDA has participated in many, many shows and parades in
Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. And,
I’m proud to say, has won quite a number of awards. I even took
SHALDA to Evansville, Indiana, the birthplace of the Hercules
engine, helping celebrate their 80th anniversary in June 1994.
Many thanks to Donald Long, who engineered SHALDA. Also thanks
to the late Eugene Bennett and several others including my
long-suffering family. Without them SHALDA would never have been
I also have a 1937 1 x HP John Deere model E, serial #345675,
mounted on a Cub Cadet garden tractor that I hope to have running
by early summer. It will be for my 12 year old granddaughter,
Tammy. She has already named it ‘Sweet Pea.’ I can haul it
in my pickup.
Thank you for allowing me to update the story on SHALDA. By the
way we have a steam and gas engine parade and show every July 4th
in Cumming, Georgia 40 miles north of Atlanta, just off Georgia
400. We welcome you all. For questions or information write me at
the above address.