Engine Ambition: Air-Cooled Engines Capture Collector's Interest

Rudy Adrian shows off his air-cooled engine collection.

| February/March 2015

  • 1916 1-3/4 HP Galloway engine
    One of Rudy Adrian's air-cooled engines is this 1916 1-3/4 HP Galloway gas engine, serial no. 4521.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • Rudy's engine collection
    Rudy's engine collection at a recent show. He alternates engines every two years.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1912 1-1/2 HP Waterloo engine
    This 1912 1-1/2 HP Waterloo engine is in "as found" original condition, bought from the son of the original owner. The speed control lever is just visible to the right of the piston oiler. The cast iron cooling fan is belt driven off the flywheel and blows cooling air over the cylinder.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Rudy and the 1910 Gilson 1 HP
    Rudy with his 1910 Gilson 1 HP "Goes Like Sixty" engine.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1910 Gilson engine head
    The cylinder head with brass mixer just visible at the bottom of the head. The mixer was made especially for Gilson by Lavinge.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1910 Gilson 1 HP
    The Gilson does not have a cooling fan, which limited the duty it could perform.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1912 2 HP Type A Chapman engine
    Rudy's 1912 2 HP Type A Chapman gasoline engine, serial no. 92906, was manufactured in Dundas, Ontario, Canada.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Chapman gas engine mixer
    This photo shows the front end of the Type A Chapman gasoline engine, including the elephant-trunk-looking mixer at left.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Chapman Gasoline Engines battery box
    Nicely done "CGE" logo on the battery box stands for "Chapman Gasoline Engines."
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1915 2 HP Chapman
    The back of Rudy's 1915 2 HP Chapman "Economizer" gasoline engine. The brass fuel filler tube on the left goes down to a gas tank that is part of the casting.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1915 2 HP Chapman
    Rudy's 1915 2 HP Chapman "Economizer" was made in Marcellus, Michigan, by Chapman Engine Works. Note the unusual galvanized tin water hopper and the nice nickel-plated brass tag.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
    A side view of Rudy Adrian's 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F gas engine.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Brass tag for the 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
    This brass tag for Rudy's 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F gas engine shows serial number 21449 and a rated speed of 475 RPM.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
    The working end of Rudy's 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F gas engine, with the Sumter magneto mounted on top of the timing gears.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
    The head of Rudy Adrian's 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine, with the igniter on the right above the pushrod.
    Photo by Bill Vossler

  • 1916 1-3/4 HP Galloway engine
  • Rudy's engine collection
  • 1912 1-1/2 HP Waterloo engine
  • Rudy and the 1910 Gilson 1 HP
  • 1910 Gilson engine head
  • 1910 Gilson 1 HP
  • 1912 2 HP Type A Chapman engine
  • Chapman gas engine mixer
  • Chapman Gasoline Engines battery box
  • 1915 2 HP Chapman
  • 1915 2 HP Chapman
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
  • Brass tag for the 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine
  • 1914 1-1/2 HP De Laval Alpha Type F engine

Rudy Adrian’s foray into gasoline engines began at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, when he was 14 years old. “There was an older gentleman, Henry Isaac, with a trailer filled with engines, and I asked a lot of questions,” Rudy says. “After that I helped him every year with that old hay trailer with 10 gas engines on it. He would work in the blacksmith shop and I would help him run the engines. I learned a lot from him, and got interested in the hobby. Every summer during Pioneer Days, until I was 17, I went and helped him out.”

Rudy started working on a 1960 3 HP Briggs and Stratton in 1977. He didn’t buy his first engine until he was 35, after he overheard people talking in the town restaurant: “The owner had a 1915 3 HP Fairbanks-Morse Z he didn’t know what to do with,” Rudy says. “I perked up. That evening I went down and bought it. It was missing the carburetor and ignition system. At home my wife said, ‘That’s kind of neat. What are you going to do with it?’ I said, ‘It’s interesting, and I only want one.’”

The rest of the story is predictable: “After that, I went crazy. I bought engines all over the place, until I owned 125. I was full of ambition and had time to work on them.” Without a tractor to maneuver larger engines, he sold every engine larger than 8 HP; they were too large to take to shows. Today the 51-year-old’s collection has been whittled down to 90.

Into the air

Rudy’s favorite engines are air-cooled. “The older, air-cooled engines with fins intrigue me, and they’re really neat-looking. They’re different, and there aren’t a lot of them around. I don’t know whether they were successful or not.” He has 14 different brands and models of them.



The Waterloo

One of Rudy’s favorites is an original 1912 Waterloo. Seven years ago at a show a guy saw Rudy’s air-cooled Associated on his trailer and said he had a similar engine in his barn. He didn’t know the make, but it wasn’t for sale. “I gave him a card and forgot about it,” Rudy says. “A few years later he called saying he’d sold the farm, so the engine was for sale. I was totally shocked that he had remembered me. It was completely caked with grease and sawdust, but we made a deal for it.”

The owner’s father had bought it to cut rough lumber on a table saw for barn rafters. After cleaning it up with a power washer, making ignition repairs, cleaning the rings and fiddling with it, he got it to run.



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