A Teen and his Hobby of Restoring Gas Engines

Teenager Edgar Johnson, Jr. shares information about his hobby of restoring gas engines.

| January/February 1967

All about a teen and his hobby of restoring gas engines. 

Most kids at the age of 15 are out swimming or playing ball come summer, but Edgar Johnson Jr. of Rural Ringoes is more likely to be found down in the basement garage working on his hobby of restoring gas engines.

Restoration is the word, too, because Johnson starts with antiques: old, beaten-up liulks with pistons rusted to cylinder walls. He finishes with finely running engines covered with gleaming coats of paint.

Part of it may be that Edgar's dad, Edgar Johnson Sr., is a mechanic and runs an auto body shop on Hampton Corner Road in Raritan Township. But it's mainly help in the form of a wrecking truck to haul the engines around and equipment like sandblasters that Edgar Sr. contributes — his son doesn't need any encouragement at all.

Edgar Jr. has two engines completely restored and is halfway done with a third. He works on them one at a time. 'If we didn't make him stick to one, he'd never get any done,' his mother explains.

Because out in the back yard are four more old engines, and Edgar is constantly on the lookout for more. He's itching to get lo work on an old 5 hp New Holland, and he doesn't know whether to take that one next or a small spark plug model Fairbanks Morse the Holcombe sisters who live down the road gave him.