71 Perry Lane Agawam, Massachusetts 01001
It was the week after Christmas 1995, when my son Peter came home from work excited and reported that he had spotted what he thought was an old engine out in a farm field in Enfield, Connecticut.
After a bit of checking, we found the owner and made contact with him. He agreed to meet with us at the farm and said he would sell the engine to us for a certain price.
We trudged through knee-deep snow to see the engine. Lo and behold, under a rusty tin box, there was an old 6 HP Hercules hit and miss engine. It was mounted on a drop frame saw rig.
We finalized the sale and spent late afternoon until past dark hauling the machine through the snow, onto the trailer and home. The next day, December 31, we went out to look at our purchase and decided that we had to be 'touched' to drag home such a pile of rusty iron. We wanted to try to start our newly acquired toy but, after a quick examination, I discovered that the connecting rod appeared to have no insert bearings in it. Numerous clues showed that this poor engine had been abused. No sense looking for trouble. Complete disassembly and rebuild were in order.
We spent the winter of 1996 repairing worn parts, filling castings, painting and reassembling a beautiful show engine. Since the truck's condition had been worse than the engine's, we had put it aside to be a project for the winter of 1997. Its wheels had side slop of four or five inches indicating much wear in the axles and hubs. The axle 'I' beams were rusted beyond repair. I decided that the frame rails, wheels, and a few fittings were the only parts I could salvage. After sandblasting them I spent many hours filling the heavily pitted wheels and frame. I made a few changes to the truck by removing one foot from the center of the frame to make the engine look better-installed, and widened the distance between the frame rails. This made the gas tank removable, if necessary, without lifting the engine.
My good friend Dan Ciak took the wheels to his shop and bored out the hubs to accept heavy duty lawn mower wheel ball bearings. Then I made new axles and mounted them under new 'I' beams. How nicely the truck rolls now!
One person I can't leave out of this story is my brother-in-law, Doug Fountain. He provided restoration advice and supplied me with necessary materials (I.C.I. Auto Color). Without his invaluable help, this beautiful restoration would not have been possible. Doug also insisted that we rubberize the truck wheels. So, after making forms and pumping ten tubes of 3M windshield cement on the rims, I had rubber tires. The perfect finishing touch.
I take this Hercules engine to many engine shows and always get many compliments from the spectators. I have been told it is the most photographed at these shows.