Backyard GRAY

By Staff
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Above, the four 'before' views.
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Above, the four 'before' views.

11365 Stage Road Akron, New York 14001

One spring day my family and I came home from a ride in the
country and found an engine dumped in my side yard. After examining
it, I found it to be a Gray 1? HP that my friend Dale Siminski had
been telling me about that was in a friend’s backyard for
twenty-five years or so. The engine had never been covered or
protected from rain or snow. Somehow it miraculously survived the
elements. However, there were no two moving pieces that were not
frozen together. No cracks or breaks, just a lot of rust.

I called Dale on the telephone and told him that if he wanted my
help restoring it, I would be glad to do so. He came over that
evening and told me if I could make it run it was mine. If I
couldn’t, he wanted it back to plant flowers in. I took another
look at it and told him not to buy any petunias. At the time this
all took place, I was working on my Seyfang five-horse vertical air
cooled (that story to follow in a future article) and I kept
walking by the Gray and wondering if I shouldn’t be buying Dale
some petunias instead of having to eat my words. But what I did was
kept spraying it with penetrating oil every time I walked by. All
of a sudden things started to loosen up, so I began to call my
expert friends and ask a bunch of questions

The day before Craig Prucha’s May 2000 Gasup, I had finally
succeeded in tearing it down. When I got to the Gasup I was telling
the guys about my Gray engine and how well the tear-down had gone,
when Craig told me that Dave Yorks had one in the back of his
pickup. Well, I chased Dave down right away to ask if I could shoot
some pictures of it to go by when 1 started to reassemble mine. He
said sure. To my surprise, he had a beautiful engine (see above)
which helped me a bunch. I still was not sure I was going to be
able to rebuild this myself, but I was willing to try. I called Ed
Deis at Hit & Miss and he told me to bring her on down and he
would take a look at what I had.

After doing so, he told me the bearings would all be good except
for one. I had him make me a new wrist pin, rod bearing and a gas
tank. My friend Stiles Bradley poured the one crank bearing. Dave
Johnson fixed a head stud and trimmed the flywheels. A good friend,
Dave Markowitz, let me blast all the castings and clean the crank
at his local machine shop. My friend Carl from the car dealer down
the road pinstriped my paint job. An old friend, Lester Rosenthai,
supplied some odd parts, i.e. a buzz coil. And my close friend
Curtis Krueske spent a bunch of evenings in my shop making sure I
made no mistakes. My first love is wood working, so you know who
made the cart.

And last, but not least by any means, my wonderful wife Linda
and my kids Amanda and Jake helped in many different ways,
including encouragement. As you can see, it’s quite evident the
restoration went well. She showed nicely at Alexander and met with
a great review. Thanks to all who helped.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines