The Canadian United 6 hp Acadia

An Acadia engine that lived a harsh life on the coast finds a home in Minnesota.

| February/March 2018

  • Steve Spencer's 6 hp Acadia.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • A rear view of Steve Spencer's 6 hp Acadia, up and running. Acadia engines were popular in Canada, where they were made, but are a relative rarity in the U.S.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • A front view of the Acadia. Although clearly patterned on United engines built by Associated in Waterloo, Iowa, Acadia engines were built in-house.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The cable winch powered by the Acadia was used to pull fishing boats up onto land for storage. This type of setup was very common in Canada's fishing regions.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • A close-up view of the cable winch frame shows the Acadia name cast into the frame.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The Acadia running. A large chain drives the winch.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Steve with his 6 hp Acadia. Its year of manufacture is unknown.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • A 1964 price list shows the 6 hp Acadia selling for $598. Acadia engines were in production until 1975.
    Image courtesy Bill Vossler
  • A 1921 ad for Acadia engines.
    Image courtesy

6 hp Acadia

Manufacturer: Acadia Gas Engines Ltd., Bridgeport, Nova Scotia, Canada
Year: N/A
Serial no.: 54277
Horsepower: 6 hp @ 375rpm
Bore & stroke: 5in x 8in
Flywheel dia. & width: 27in x 2-5/8in
Weight: 800lb (engine only)
Cooling: Hopper
Ignition: Make and break w/battery and coil
Governing: Hit-and-miss w/battery and coil

Even though he is only 49 years old, Steve Spencer, Big Lake, Minnesota, started collecting old iron long before many other people. “My dad, Bob Spencer, collected tractors, and still does. When I was young, I’d go to all these auctions and shows with him. One time at a swap meet, Dad bought me a small Briggs & Stratton Model WMB engine. I was in the eighth grade, and that’s when I started collecting, then buying a 1925 1-1/2 hp John Deere.”

With that, he started collecting walk-behind garden tractors, Maytag gasoline engines and then stationary gas engines. He has 28 of them today, including a 2-1/2 hp Root & VanDervoort, a line of engines he’s very partial to. He also bought 2 hp and 3 hp John Deere engines. “When I was an eighth-grader, some of my friends thought my collecting was a little odd. They’d say things like, ‘What’s the point in having something like that?’ But some thought it was neat. I found them intriguing and interesting.”

As often happens with collectors, Steve stumbled onto his 6 hp Acadia engine by accident. “My brother and I went to buy a small tractor from an older collector, and afterwards he showed us some other stuff, including the Acadia. I was attracted to it because of that winch on it, which makes it pretty unique. About a week later, I purchased it from him and brought it home.”

After examining the engine, Steve decided it must not have done very much work in its early life, because other than cleaning the mixer and gas tank, he didn’t have to do much engine work on it to get it running.


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