Locating and Restoring an OTTO

| September/October 1978

  • Otto has a serial number 5757

  • Otto has a serial number 5757

Route 2, M 25, Akron, Michigan 48701

Late in September 1977, as I was going over my GEM magazine for about the third time, I was again reading 'Moving Day' by David Reed, about the Otto gas engine, when my brother called from Lewiston, Michigan which is about 115 miles north of me. He wanted to know if I was interested in a gas engine. When I asked him how big and what kind, he said a 5 HP Otto. I couldn't believe it, and said, 'You mean an Ottawa.' He said, 'No, it's spelled OTTO.'

So the next day a neighbor and I took off for Lewiston. It was cold and raining when we got there. We located the owner and he took us about 500' back in the woods, and there was old Otto, sitting on a set of steel trucks, with brush and trees growing up around it. It was settled in the dirt about 4', and there was nothing for color but rust.

Its' last job, neither the owner nor I know how long ago, but buzzing wood. There was part of a buzz saw hooked on the back. The piston was free. The owner said every couple of years he would dump oil on it. But, the sideshaft was set up, the exhaust manifold was among the leaves and dirt and in sad shape, and the throttle spindle was missing.

We dickered over the price for half an hour or so, but I willingly gave in, because I knew it was rare, and he did not.

We returned home late that day and borrowed a lowboy trailer. The next morning we returned with the trailer and moved a couple of downed trees, some brush and other junk. We got a couple neighbors and rolled old Otto into the trailer. We made it home with no problems, however, a cold rain was falling.