A Cub Comes Out Of Hibernation

| October/November 1987

  • Belt pulley
    The belt pulley and original exhaust valve serve to show the general rust and corrosion that had to be battled in getting this engine back into operation.
  • Cushman Cub
    Rear view of the restored Cushman Cub.
  • Crank-side view of the restored Cub
    Crank-side view of the restored Cub.

  • Belt pulley
  • Cushman Cub
  • Crank-side view of the restored Cub

1841 Pinecove Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA

This tale has its beginning about 3 years ago in the lab at the college where I teach electronics. It was during a break and I was busying myself cleaning the place up a bit. Gabe came in. Now Gabe needs some introduction but I'm not going into detail at this time for he needs more than just an introduction; he needs a whole story. Perhaps I will come up with that one at a later date. For now, suffice to say that Gabe is the local 'Mr. Engine' around here. He has the unique talent of being able to see just what needs to be done to make a recalcitrant engine run. He can visualize what a missing part must look like and, most of the time comes up with something approaching the exact duplicate. Mainly, for the purposes of this narration, he is my main engine scout. I have several engines and about half of them came, one way or another, through Gabe.

On the day in question, Gabe showed up at the lab during my break and said, 'You still looking for a small engine?' I responded that by now he should be well aware that I was always looking for a small engine. 'Well,' he said, 'I think I've found one you will be interested in'. 'Oh yeah', I said, 'What have you got?' 'Well', he said, 'I haven't actually got it, it's just like I know where it is.' 'O.K.' I said, 'Where is it and what is it?' So he said, 'I just wanted to know if you were interested first before I got myself involved.'

If you think all of this conversation is getting boring it's just because you don't know Gabe. You have to do a lot of verbal sparring with him before you get down to brass tacks and then you must be wary lest the brass tacks turn out to be ten penny nails. So I decided to go along with the drift of things and find out what was going on in his head. 'O.K.' I said, 'I'm interested so what have you found?' 'Well', he said, 'this guy has two engines out in a shed, they've been there for years but they've been under cover all the time. One of them is big, maybe 5 horse power and I've got my eye on that one but the other one is small and I think it is just what you've been looking for.' 'So O.K.', I said, 'What is this little gem anyway?' 'Looks to me like a Cushman Cub. If it's not, it's something very much like it and about the same size. Thing is,' he said, 'this is really a clean engine that looks like all you need to do is fuel it up, crank it and away she goes.'

'How much is it going to take to liberate this paragon of machine-hood?' He quoted me a figure that was a little higher but not that far out of range of what I'd had to give up for some other more or less seedy engines I'd already found through hm. 'So,' I said, 'Do you think it's worth that much?' 'Oh yeah,' he said, 'I'm telling you this is really a clean machine you don't have hardly anything to do to it to have it ready for the show on Memorial Day.' (Our local crew get together on Memorial day each year and hold a fun time old engine show over in Cayucos at a place called the Weigh Station because that's what it used to be in old days. Now it is a restaurant and the owners are very gracious about sponsoring this annual event in their parking lot.) I thought it would be really great to have a new engine to show that year and since it seemed like this one would not be too tough to get ready, I peeled out some bucks and turned them over to Gabe.

A couple of days later, Gabe showed up with the little gem. I immediately realized how it was that he was not sure whether it was a Cub or not. Through all the rust it was hard to be sure that it was actually an engine! 'This is the Cream Puff engine that you described to me?' I demanded. 'Well' said Gabe, 'It was pretty dark in that shed. Anyway, it's not as bad as it might seem, that engine is all there.' 'How can you tell? For crying out loud, the only thing you can be sure of is that all the rust is there,' I said. 'Yeah,' he said, 'but look at it this way, if there is rust, there had to be something underneath to support the stuff.' 'You told me all it needed was gas and it was ready to go' I said. 'Well, I guess I was wrong' he said. 'And I'm supposed to have this thing ready for the show? You've got to be kidding.' I said. 'Don't feel picked on,' he retorted, 'the other one is the same way and I'm going to get it in shape in nothing flat, just you watch.'


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