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,
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
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
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.