A Canadian Comes to Life


| June/July 1997



Chapman 2 HP engine

9687 SE 48th Avenue Runnells, Iowa 50237

It struck me as hard as a lightning bolt from a summer Iowa sky. I was wandering around the Waukee, Iowa, swap meet when I was suddenly drawn to two weathered, incomplete bodies. There was something about them perhaps the fact they were lying on their sides in a heap, discarded, unwanted, unloved; perhaps it was their unusual design; perhaps it was because it was the biggest challenge I'd ever faced in engine restoration. Whatever the reason, I knew I had to have them two Chapman 2 HP carcasses. Seldom had I ever had so little doubt about a purchase.

I decided to take the plunge, held my breath, and wrote the check, then walked away pleased but wondering what I had done. How would I find parts for something I had never seen or heard of before? Between the two of them, there wasn't a complete engine. Plenty of external parts were obviously missing. This was going to be fun!

Of course, I got the usual 'That isn't an engine, that's junk' upon my arrival home, but I knew better. First course of action Write to GEM! There has to be someone with a running example, or parts or drawings to lead me, or someone who knows someone.

I quickly hit the jackpot. Within days, I got letters in response to my questions. Not so amazingly, the two most important came from Canada. Edison Brown and Albert Denyer wrote not only with information, but also drawings and explanations of how the very complex-looking and missing fuel system worked. I had not only found the information I needed, but found two friends in the process. That alone made the engine worth more than money.

Writing back and forth takes time, but I was in no hurry. It took nearly a year of careful work to get it all apart without further damage. With the loan of the fuel pipes from a complete, working engine, I was able to duplicate the pipes and fittings. From the drawings and explanations of the Chapman system, I was able to piece together all that was missing and make it all fit together.