A Traditional Green Fairbanks-Morse


| July/August 2001

Fairbanks Morse

1108 Emery Lane Clarksville, Indiana 47129-1508

#1: The 3 HP Z in this photo has the original red paint. The l HP with the solid disc flywheels has been repainted. Both engines are equipped with the original oilers and the Ford coil and battery box. The starting crank on the 3HP is original and was also painted red.

#2: This front view of a 3HP Z reveals most of the changes made in these particular engines in the 1920s. The red paint (this is original) is obvious. The unusual style of the carburetor is revealed as is the black box which holds the coil and battery for the ignition. The muffler on this engine is not original.

The Fairbanks-Morse style 'Z' was a very popular source of power in the mid-twenties, and most old iron collectors of today are familiar with the 1 HP 'Z' that came from the factory painted a bright red. Green was the color used on all style Z's until the 20s, when the F-M Company decided to produce and sell a somewhat less expensive version of the already successful style Z. Several other changes were also introduced in the new style Zs, besides the use of red paint, which the company hoped would make them 'stand out' from the rest of the Fairbanks-Morse line of engines. The new Z's were available in the 1 and 3 HP models (See photo #1). The 3 HP represented in this picture was manufactured in the early part of 1926. The l HP was ready for delivery in 1922, unlike the 3 HP. The l came with solid disc wheels, commonly referred to 'dish-pan style' flywheels.

1 HP Fairbanks and Morse Z on original trucks. Engine has dishpan type flywheels. Paint and muffler are not original. Notice the pressed steel oiler used only on these red Fairbanks with a coil and battery for ignition.

The carburetor or 'mixer' used on the new Z's is a fixed jet design, and does not incorporate an adjustable, 'needle valve.' To change the fuel mixture, all that was required was for the operator to open or close the air shutter. This type of carburetor is sensitive, and a minor adjustment will immediately affect the performance of the engine (See photo #2). The other major change in these particular Z's was in the ignition system. Previously, a magneto supplied the necessary spark to run the engine. The magnets were replaced, (in order to cut production costs) with a coil and four #6 dry cell batteries. The coil was a model T Ford coil, and the battery box that contained the coil and batteries was also a Ford product. This is a very effective ignition system and Ford coils are used today in various engines of this era.