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


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.


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.