MAYTAG-COKE SPECIAL!

By Staff
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10509 Highway 71 N.E. Spicer, Minnesota 56288

As a recently retired band director I thought I needed something
to occupy my spare time, in addition to playing trumpet with three
different groups, ham radio (KAOKHJ), woodworking, hunting and
fishing, old cars, and collecting everything from cameras to guns!
Since I have always liked engines, I decided that was to be next on
the list of things to do. Besides being a lot less expensive, they
take up less space than old cars, and are much more economical to
restore. Plus, they appear to be going up in value while still
being available.

My first Maytags were acquired when I discovered that the father
of the tuba player in our brass group had a hardware store that
sold Maytag washing machines. It turned out that Marlyn’s
storage shed contained 21/2 (counting one
stuck and various parts) Model 72D’s. These had found their way
to the kids’ ‘go-cart’ when the electric motor was
discovered to start all the time and smelled better than the old
two-cycle Maytag on Mom’s washing machine! The go-cart soon
lost its charm and the engines went to the shed. It took only an
hour or so to get the first of these running, and I was hooked on
Maytags! They were a new kind of music to my ears!

Next came a nice looking 92M acquired from a friend in our car
club. It looks better than it runs, but with some tinkering, it
soon will be ‘hitting and missing’ on all its one
cylinder!

In the fall of 1995, when orchestra rehearsals resumed in
Willmar, Minnesota, my friend Wes, from Atwater, asked what I was
doing to keep busy in retirement. When I told him I was into
Maytags he invited me to see one he had in the upstairs of the root
cellar. He said it had been on a small child’s car which was
made a long time ago. I had no idea what kind of Maytag this might
be, and secretly hoped that the ‘car’ might also be around
somewhere. (I had heard of the Maytag ‘Toy Racer’ and knew
that they were nearly as pricy as our ’66 Mustang convertible,
and had decided that one of those cars would probably never become
part of our collection.) After arranging a meeting to see the
homemade car, and a long coffee session, we finally went to look at
it.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was not
your average Maytag, and did not even have a kick starter! I later
discovered from our local Maytag experts, the Martis, that this was
an upright 1/2 HP with a type E carburetor!
After finding out that the 1/2 HP engine
could become part of the Johnson collection, I asked Wes if there
was a possibility of acquiring the car also. He thoughtfully cocked
his head, rested his chin with the neatly trimmed ‘Colonel
Sanders’ goatee on his hand, and stated, ‘Looks to me like
they are securely hitched together, and, if you get one you get the
other, too!’ I could hardly wait to get home and start work on
my newest treasure!

Upon closer examination I found that the hood is made from a
very old Coca Cola tin sign, turned inside out, and trimmed to fit!
If you look closely at the photo you can see that the sign is in
very good condition after all these years. The drive mechanism
contains parts of a Ford Model T water pump, and fan belt, mated to
some very old bicycle sprockets with a belt tightener to make it
go. No brakes are visible, so I assume you stuck out feet or waited
for it to run out of gas to stop!

With the able assistance of Hugh Geer, master mechanic of New
London, who made a new set of rings and made sure that everything
was in working order, we were ready to fire it up for the first
time in about 80 years! With the addition of a buzz coil and
battery,’ it popped, backfired, and started to run! What a
thrill! ‘Music to my ears!’

Next step was to get the car looking better. It was made from an
unplaned 1′ x 12′ plank which had sagged about 4′ in
the middle and was warped to one side! After bolting a couple of
pieces of square dock tubing to the underside it could once again
go straight ahead. The old toy wagon wheels got hew roller bearings
and tires, the missing seat was made like I thought it should be,
and a new paint job by Kevin Geer of New London made it look as
good as new.

Recently I discovered from Peter Hoagland, of Willmar, that the
‘Maytag-Coke Special’ was made by his great-uncle, Lyndon
Peterson, near the end of World War I, and that it sat in the root
cellar from the 1920s till 1957. Pete and his brother finally
convinced their parents they should have the car, and spent a short
amount of time trying to get it running again. Fortunately for me,
they did not know that a battery and buzz coil were needed to make
it go, and after considerable pushing to try to start it, they soon
returned it to the root cellar. Fortunately also, they did not heed
Uncle Lyndon’s advice to ‘Get rid of that Maytag and
install a Briggs,’ which needed no battery and would run
faster.

This 80-year old ‘go-cart’ now runs, looks good, and
will probably never be ridden again unless I can manage to lose 150
pounds (wouldn’t be able to trust a kid to ride it).

It is now the prize of our collection of Maytags, washing
machines, Briggs, Clinton, Ohlsson & Rice ‘Tiny Tiger,’
Eclipse, Homelite trash pump, International M, LB, Fairbanks ZD,
and others which, if all going at the same time, produce more
‘music’ than my ears can stand!

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