Oldsmar Tractor Memories

Check-out this reader’s letter detailing a life-long love of gas engine collectables and consider helping him out tracking down an engine for his Oldsmar.

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Craig Orme

To the editor, and to all who work at GEM. Thank you for such a great magazine. I have been a subscriber since 1979! I would like to go back in time now to show you and the readers how valuable each issue is. I’m calling this “On the Road Again, Part 2.” I was 15 years old when I went to my first gas engine show. Within that weekend I was a new member of Branch 15 at Antique Powerland. I did not want to leave. So now I was hooked and started looking for engines. My first one turned out to be in a shed at my neighbor’s farm, which I bought for $60, I think. I was in heaven.

It was a 1917 F-M. I still needed more, so my family and I were at church, and after church, my father and I were talking with a gentleman named Charlie. He was an old retired mechanic. He said he had an old steel wheel tractor he rescued from being scrapped a long time ago. Now he said he would like to see something happen with it. We decided on a price of $65. I think now I owned a nameless tractor. Then C.H. Wendel’s Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors came out. I got a copy and there it was, a small picture of one similar to mine, an Oldsmar tractor. So my father wrote a story called “On the Road Again” and we sent it to GEM. Not sure how long it took to be published, but it appeared in the November/December 1982 issue.

Nobody responded to the story, so we rolled it to the back of the shop. I’m still getting GEM, then I get my June 2004 issue. I don’t believe it. The story “Olds and the Mystery Machine” is staring me in the face. Wow. An engine for my tractor! Well, at that time family, work and life kind of got in the way. So now to the present; I’m cleaning the garage and there’s the tractor still sitting there. Then I found the issues I just mentioned.

Oh joy. Now I’m older, 54, if you must know, and I would like to get back to this. I tried contacting Kenny – the owner of the engine – but well, Kenny passed two years ago, according to his wife. She is trying to see if her sons know what happened to the engine.

Meanwhile, I hope you can run a new story using all of this information. Maybe someone out there knows where it is and if anyone else has one of these? Or am I the only one? As you said at the end of the 2004 article, with luck, a clearer picture of the engine’s origins, the town and the company will come to light someday with the discovery of a similar engine or tractor. Well, I got the tractor, let’s get the engine and set it “on the road again.” I hope to hear from anybody. I will continue my subscription until I’m gone! Your biggest fan!

Craig Orme
285 S 16th Ave.
Cornelius, OR 97113
(503) 357-8582

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