Life In The Fast Lane


| September/October 1989

  • 1948 IH truck
    A scene from 'The Mud Hole Pull of '88', last October. 1948 IH truck (with 1935 J.D. 'D' on it) towing trailer loaded with 25 HP 'Marion' engine.

  • 1948 IH truck

P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534

The antiques that haul antique tractors and engines to shows deserve recognition, too. This story begins two weeks prior to our annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show, which was held October 1 and 2, 1988.

I had my 1935 John Deere D loaded on my 1948 International flatbed truck and I had my one cylinder 25 HP Marion engine on its trailer which was hooked up to the truck. I decided to take these to the show grounds two weeks early to allow more time for other things.

My fellow collector, Richard A. 'Smitty' Smith (who was going to follow me), asked me just prior to embarking upon this journey, 'Are you going to travel on the frontage road when we get to IH35?' I replied, 'Naw, not me, I'm gonna run with the big boys-those Peterbilts and Freightliners in the fast lane!' And I did-to within 1.8 miles of the show grounds! That's when the old flatbed started smoking and slinging oil! I'm talking slinging (actually blowing) oil! I also had it boiling water real good! Most steam engineers would have given $20 for the start I had on that water! It took about two and a half hours to get towed near the show area and to get everything tied down or covered up. By this time, the truck had cooled down a few degrees so I thought I'd see if the engine would turn over. It would, though slowly, but after a few revolutions it blew the oil filler cap about halfway to the moon, so I got to figuring there was a hole somewhere that wasn't cast in the factory!

I returned the following weekend (one week prior to the show) and tore down the engine to look for the suspected hole. I found the hole as soon as I lifted off the head. There was the neatest hole burned in the approximate middle of piston #1.

Now, to tell the exact ordeal of what it took to get a piston for a 1948 IH truck would take another 18 pages so let me just say I did get a piston and gaskets before the show. I had intended to take off work Thursday and put the truck back together and on Friday do some fixing-up on our old pull sled. Well, it had been pretty dry in Texas-up until this show weekend. On Thursday, while I was trying to put the truck together (outside), it stormed and rained FIVE INCHES! Between thunderstorms, I managed to build a tarp cover over the truck and get it about halfway back together. On Friday, I began to complete the truck. Because our showground was soaking wet, I couldn't get to the old pull sled and we weren't going to be able to have a tractor pull in this mud anyway. So, I would work on the truck awhile, discuss the show (rain, mud, etc.) awhile, work on the truck awhile, and at twenty minutes 'till 5 p.m., I got it cranked up.


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