Goes Like Sixty


| February/March 1988



1 HP Gilson Engine

1 HP Gilson as we bought it, July 1986.

II 884 West Jackson Street Marshall, MO 65340

It all started at Oak Grove, Missouri, the same as any other local show. Several friends and collectors were sitting under a portable shade tree socializing (shoot in the bull). It was just after the noon indigestion- two chili dogs with onions-and everyone was cursing the July heat and begging for a breeze when, as happens at lots of shows, a stranger walks up and says, 'Anyone want to buy an engine?'

My first reaction was 'Oh boy!', not in the sense of excitement, but more in the sense of 'Here we go again, another yard ornament.' He said, 'It's a Gilson.' Then someone in our group asked me a question. I turned to answer, and when I turned back the stranger was gone.

I spotted him about three trailers down. My father and I chased him down; he was already talking to another collector who was ready to buy. I pulled him away to tell him I wanted to see it, and we followed him to a tin barn about seven miles south of Oak Grove.

We walked in and, sure enough, there on a large wire spool sat a 1 HP Gilson style E air-cooled. It was dirty but no rust. He said it belonged to a friend who lived in Kansas City. So off to a pay phone to call.

We squabbled over the price for a while, then settled. With the engine in the truck, we headed back to the show. As we arrived all the conversation turned towards the Gilson.