Ralph Ary and his Prize Winning Homemade Garden Tractor

Spark Plug of the Month Ralph Ary discusses his prize winning homemade garden tractor and the gas engine he added into his Harley-Davidson Motorcycle frame.


| July/August 1966



Harley-Davidson Motorcycle frame

Photo courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana.

PHOTO: JOE FAHNESTOCK

Ralph Ary discusses his prize winning homemade garden tractor and his other gas engine adventures. 

Dayton Daily News & Radio's "Joe's Journal".

"There goes Barney Oldfield to work," is what the residents of Darke county in western Ohio exclaim when they see a motorcycle streak past them with what looks like the figure of Ralph Ary at the throttle. But Ralph, impervious to the Oldfield image he's created, has two quite different objectives: one is getting to work on time, the other is saving on gas bills, both of which he's doing, thanks to his homemade, one-lung, gas-poppin' motorcycle.

"Boy does this thing save on gas," quoth the 63 year old Ary. "I can commute all week back and forth over the six-and-a-half miles from home and work much cheaper than in my late model Chevy. About a quarter's worth of gas a week does it."

It all came about recently when Ralph Ary decided to "upgrade" the horsepower on his homemade garden tractor by replacing its six-horse engine with an eight-horse in order to keep winning more trophies in those hotly-contested small-tractor pulls that have been leaping and growing all over western Ohio. With Ralph Ary building the tractors and adding more and more horsepower, by juggling pullies and sprockets, and his grandson, Kim Besecker, driving in the contests, the both of them always came home "with the bacon" in way of trophies and ribbons.

Ralph Ary adjusts 6 hp engine he transferred from Garden Tractor to Harley-Davidson Motorcycle frame.