Briggs & Stratton FC Resurrection

Briggs & Stratton collector hits the jackpot, which includes a rare short breather Briggs & Stratton FC

| April/May 2012

Briggs And Stratton FC Before Restoration

Greg Ackerly's Briggs & Stratton FC before restoration.

In about 2003, my dad took me to pick up an old Bobcat he had lent a friend. While we were there, Dad obtained a 1964 Arctic Cat and I was given three old Briggs & Strattons, a Model H, WI and 6S. Those three engines got me hooked on old engines, particularly Briggs. Since then my collection has grown rapidly, and I hope to collect all the models and as many variations as possible. While many specific models and variations elude me, I have collected one or more of all the different series except W or WA, FHI, FE, FJ-1, T and Motor Wheel.

A brief history of Briggs & Stratton engines

In 1919 Briggs & Stratton, then an automotive parts company, bought the rights to produce the Motor Wheel from A.O. Smith. From there, Briggs introduced the Model S “stationary” engine (not to be confused with the S and SC engines made in the early ‘30s) and then the Model P “portable” engine. While the S never reached much more than a prototype (about 40 were produced) production of the Model P soared to about 5,000 units.

Then in 1921 a completely new model was introduced, the Model F. It was overhead valve, used a drip oiler and splash system for lubrication, and had a suction carb with the gas tank in the base. For the first year of production, both magneto and buzz coil ignition were offered, but the latter was discontinued for the second and final year of production. An updated engine, the Model FB, which dispensed of the oiler and used a constant level system, was introduced somewhere between 1922 and 1923. Partway through FB production, the Model FC was introduced. Early FCs were basically FBs with shrouds, a different carb and a splash oiling system. During FC production the base was changed from two mounting ears to four and a two-bolt head to a four-bolt head. In 1925 the FE and, later in the year, the FH were introduced. The Models F, FB, FC and FE all ran in the same serial number list, with the lowest numbers being Model Fs and the highest being Model FEs. The rest of the F series lineup includes the Models FG, FHI, FI, FJ-1 and FJ-2. All but the FJs were overhead valve.

Good neighbor

The Antique Truck Show in Ballston Spa, N.Y., is the closest antique truck, tractor and engine show to me. It is mostly trucks, but there are several engines and tractors too. While there in 2010, I displayed several Briggs & Stratton Engines and a Sandwich engine I have. Right after I set up, I noticed the man displaying next to me had what appeared to be a Briggs M. When I walked around the front of his display, I noticed two things that excited me. First was a for sale sign. Second was the gas tank; it was the same tank that was used exclusively on some F series. It turned out to be an FJ-2. I asked the price, and it was good enough that I just took out my wallet.

Quite the collection

About an hour later a man approached saying that he had more than 200 old Briggs & Strattons he’d like to sell, and he gave me his phone number. After negotiating a time to meet, I went to his place to have a look.

All of the engines were in a small building, and as I walked toward it I thought there was no way he could fit 200 Briggs & Strattons in there. In the front of the building I saw about 20 Briggs & Strattons and wondered if he had added a zero to the number of engines he had, but he just walked past them and turned on his flashlight.

9/27/2012 1:52:07 AM

enjoyed your story just purchased a 45 degree slant fin noy sure of age but it looks like motor in picture dave e mail ols6562YAHOO.COM