Spark Plug Wayne: Amateur Mechanic and Engine Collector

On his "coffee breaks," Indiana telecommunication technician Wayne Whitenack is an amateur mechanic and engine collector.

| May/June 1968

  • spark-plug-wayne.jpg
    Father and Son "Spark Plugs" Prepare Old 1926 McCormick-Deering Tractor Gasoline 'Alley Test'. Dad 'Spark Plug', Wayne Whitenack watches, as son 'Spark Plug' David slops water into radiator of old tractor. David earned the money to buy old tractor by working after school in local supermarket. It's a new way to cement family relationships, and teach youthful responsibility and pride. No doubt Wayne has climbed old telephone pole in background more than once.
    PHOTO: JOE FAHNESTOCK
  • Wayne Whitenack
    No Health Spa For Him. After an hour's "coffeebreak"' down at the gasoline alley barn, Spark Plug WayneWhitenack returns to the "Chicken coop" as wire chief andautomatic equipment maintainer at local United Telephone Co. ofIndiana, Union City. His is the work of keeping a vital link inAmerica's communications humming. The smell of gasoline and thesound of old tractors 'n engines a-popping unties knots in thebelly and calms those frazzled work-a-day nerves.
    JOE FAHNESTOCK
  • McCormick-Deering
    One good way of getting the family to work together while mom's in the kitchen. The paternal Spark Plug, WayneWhitenack hops aboard the tractor deck for the first tractor rideof spring, while son Spark Plug, David, manipulates the controls ofthe old 1926 McCormick-Deering. Everyone was happy this fine springday. Son had saved his money to buy and recondition the tractor totake Dad for a ride, and younger sonny boy Spark Plug, Terry Joe, wasrarin' to tag along on the pint-sized tractor Dad had madeearlier for David. Even Mrs. Murphy's laundry dangled merrilyin the balmy spring breezes across gasoline alley-way.
    JOE FAHNESTOCK
  • Economy engine
    Better than a "Father-Son" banquet. David Whitenackyanks on the big fly-wheels, as Wayne manipulates the carburetorof the big 6 hp Economy engine. They worked on it over this winter in thebackyard barn "holy of holies" along Gasoline Alley and restored it to running order. Notlong ago it was lying on its side, covered with river mud, and lookat 'er now! This is their new pride and joy among some eighteenother gas engines of rare and various vintages.
    JOE FAHNESTOCK

  • spark-plug-wayne.jpg
  • Wayne Whitenack
  • McCormick-Deering
  • Economy engine

It was a lovely spring day. I had just checked in at the local offices of The United Telephone Company of Indiana in Union City to chat with Wayne Whitenack—amateur mechanic, engine collector, and the next Spark Plug of the Month. He was not in.

"I don't know where Wayne is," said the comely blonde secretary. "Wait here a while and I'll phone his favorite haunts to see if he's out on one of his coffee breaks."

"He's not on his coffee break," sighed 'blondie,' banging her receiver down and apparently giving up the hunt. "I really don't know where he is—it's such a beautiful day outside."

"Just a minute," I replied. "The weather being so balmy, I'll bet Wayne's slipped out for a spell and is down at his barn working on his engine collection. I'll just make a run down there and see."



Sure enough, as I rounded the turn into gasoline alley, there stood an old McCormick-Deering tractor out in the spring sunlight, the doors of a backlot barn were thrust wide open, and there was a fury of activity and engines popping within.

"Your secretary and I have been phoning all over town to see if you were out on a coffee break," said I to the lanky figure of a Spark Plug tinkering with the carburetor of an ancient Economy with all six horsepower rarin' to go.



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