I Needed a Project Engine?

Bringing a 2 HP 1907 IHC Famous Back to Life Proves to be a Lesson in Patience

| May/June 2003

The Luckey (Ohio) Fall Festival Association's September show is the last show of the year for me. It's the last time of the season to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of old tractors and engines, and it's my last shot at getting some of that great engine show food - there's nothing else like it.

At the 2001 show I met up with Larry Massey, who drives down from Michigan almost every year and sets up a display. Larry and I were doing what engine people do at shows - looking at stuff and talking a lot - and one of the fellows set up there had a trailer load of engines for sale. Larry pointed to an IHC Famous at one end of the trailer and said, 'That's what you need, a project engine.' It was a project engine all right - it was rough and most of the parts were in a pair of five-gallon buckets, rusted up tight.

At the time I was half way through a two and a half year restoration of a Bates and Edmonds, and the thought of taking on another project that was in even rougher condition than the Bates didn't have much appeal, so I didn't give the IHC another thought.

Four or five months later I was at Larry's shop and asked him if he remembered the guy who was selling the engines at Luckey. As it turned out, the guy had been at Larry's shop the previous weekend doing some engine trading, and Larry gave me the fellow's name and phone number.

Taking the Plunge

A few weeks later I gave Paul Sheldrick a call, and before long I was on my way to his place in Ohio to take a better look at the 1907 2 HP Famous. Before I went, however, I came up with a copy of an owner's manual that had a parts breakdown of the engine so I would have some idea of what parts were missing.

Giving the engine a good look over, I was surprised to see that all the hard-to-find small parts were still with the engine. It wasn't without its problems, however, as the cylinder and cylinder head were cracked and the cylinder would have to be replaced or resleeved. The only major part missing, other than the muffler and oiler, was the cam gear. Armed with this information, I returned home.