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Hit-and-Miss

Author Photo
By Richard Backus | Nov 1, 2003

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The annual engine extravaganza that is Portland has come and
gone, and what a show it was. The weather cooperated, for a change,
and the engines on display were, as always, a stunning mixture of
the rare, the unusual and the ‘normal.’ Our annual review
of the show starts on page 18, and as ever it’s just about
impossible to do justice to this signature event.

If you’ve never been to the Portland show, you really owe it
to yourself to make the trek. This show, more than any other,
attracts attendees from all over the U.S. and the world. Engine
fans come from the farthest corners of the earth to share in the
amazing variety of engines on display, sometimes bringing an
engine, and sometimes taking one back.

Reg Ingold showed up from Australia with the scale Merry
Explosive he built for Luke Tonneberger, while our own Helen
French, and husband, Jim, flew in from England, picking up a little
Monitor pump jack engine during their visit.

First-time Portland visitors Peter and Rita Forbes also flew in
from England (as did first-timer Philip Thornton-Evison, who snaps
photos for the U.K.’s Stationary Engine Magazine), and
they were simply awed by the event. As Peter told the
Stationary Engine List upon his return home: ‘The show
was fantastic. No words could describe the quantity and quality of
the exhibits.’ This is no fluke, of course.

Reg Ingold (left) presents Luke Tonneberger with the scale Merry
engine he built for Luke, carrying it from Australia and delivering
it to Luke at this year’s Portland show.

The organizers of the Portland show have worked hard to make the
event what it is, and the show’s success is a testimony to
their efforts and the continuing – and building – interest in old
engines.

The old iron community is rich in people, not just engines, and
a show like Portland really puts that fact into perspective. This
is not to suggest that the smaller shows, which are truly the
mainstay of the hobby, have any less to offer. Nothing could be
further from the truth. But Portland, by simple virtue of its
scope, brings together people and machines from the hobby in a way
no other show can duplicate. See you next year.

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines