I Get A 'Kick' Out of GEM

| October/November 1989

701 Park Forest, Garland, Texas 75042

Quite a 'kick' to discover your magazine, particularly since I was 1500 miles from home at the time. The 'news' stand at Big Trees and Roaring Camp Railway yielded up a current copy while on a serendipitous visit there in February of this year. I have formerly lived a number of years in Indiana, and there is considerably more interest in antique machinery there than here, as near as I can tell, so I have missed the shows, etc. I figured there must be a journal of the hobby of old motors, and was glad to find yours.

I have had a continuing love affair with engines as long as I can remember, much to my father's consternation, and my dear old mother always thought me a bit eccentric, but tolerated my inquisitive mechanical energy. I recall late nights, way after bedtime, gazing out the window across the Cumberland River in Nashville watching war-time steam trains of the L & N and NC & STL snaking their lights into Union Station. I was drawing good pictures of steam engines, cars, trucks and airplanes by the age of five. The drawings were detailed and improved as I grew. One summer in the early 50's (I was nine or ten years old) my dad became angry with me because I had removed the end plate from his new rotary mower (which had a 2 HP VS-700 Clinton on it) to watch the inner workings. The 30 seconds or so of running with no oil splashing did no harm, but transformed me, enraging my father. 'What's the matter with that boy!' he would often exclaim. By the time I was 12, I had actually repaired a number of old gas engines, obviously with no help. I started hanging around a lawn mower shop, earning the nickname 'Satellite'. As it turned out, I went to work there by the age of 14 and earned money during summer vacations from school. I stayed there till I graduated into Uncle Sam's Air Force, to do electronics instead. I have always had two or three old motors around, and kept the neighborhood 'running' wherever I lived. I also enjoyed heavy modification of 4-strokes for racing, too. No different today.

Anyway, over the years, people who know of your passions often seem to perpetuate them, vicariously maybe, or just maybe to be nice, but one motor I have been given this way is a curiosity to me. Maybe someone can identify this piece. I believe it to be a Briggs because of the carburetor, but there's no guarantee it's original. The missing cooling shroud may help identify it, being open this way. This motor runs very slowly by modern standards-seems to labor to reach 3000 rpm, max. is more comfortable at 1800-2400, but will just sit there and 'tick 'em off' at idle, of 500 rpm. I would sure appreciate any help your readers could give as to model number and ratings, as well as years made.


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