A Little Piece of Paper Can Be So Important!


| September/October 1997



Fairbanks-Morse Z 1 HP engine

383 Catherine Street W. Arthur, Ontario, Canada N0G IA0

Most of you have probably had this happen to you. Someone hands you a piece of paper with a phone number on it and tells you that this guy might have a gas engine for sale. Unfortunately, you are busy with something else or simply don't have any spare money at the time. You simply tuck the paper in your wallet and forget about it.

In the spring of 1995 I was trying to finish restoring my 1946 John Deere unstyled AR and I had just purchased a 1917 Fairbanks-Morse Z 1 HP engine. I was just short of broke, and about as pushed for time as anyone could be.

When my friend, Clarence McDougal, handed me this slip of paper, I tucked it in my wallet and hoped that at some point I would have the money and time, and that something would still be there at the end of all this. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Spring and summer passed with the tractor being finished with two whole days to spare before the first show for it. I turned my attention to the Fairbanks-Morse Z and, because it was a straightforward restoration, I had it pretty much finished by mid-October.

Sooner or later we all have to do that job of cleaning out our wallet and trying to remember what all those little pieces of paper were for, why we saved them in the first place, and which ones we should keep. When I pulled that slip of paper out, I vaguely remembered that it had something to do with a gas engine. I immediately called and got the gentleman's wife on the phone. I told her that I had heard that her husband might have a gas engine for sale. 'You bet he does,' she exclaimed, at which I laughed and told her I would call back that evening when her husband was home. When I called back later, he confirmed that he had a 2 HP Goold, Shapley & Muir for sale, and at a price that I could actually afford. Because GSM engines were Canadian, having been built in Brantford, Ontario, and because they had an outstanding reputation for dependability, we had always wanted an example to add to our collection. We currently have several gas engines including a Canadian Beaver marine engine, as well as one John Deere tractor and two antique cars.