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Recycled Sparta Economy Engine

A 4 hp Sparta Economy engine gets saved from the recycler!

| April/May 2017

  • Greg Dills (left) found the Sparta, but Bruce Heppler (right) did the restoration to get it running.
    Photo by Bruce Heppler
  • Incredibly, this is where Greg Dills stumbled across the Sparta, at the local recycling yard.
    Photo by Bruce Heppler
  • The engine was missing parts, but the main castings were OK.
    Photo by Bruce Heppler
  • The Sparta as it looked when Greg was piecing it back together for the EDGE & TA swap meet.
    Photo by Bruce Heppler
  • Greg also built a cart for the Sparta. When Bruce bought the engine he kept the cart.
    Photo by Bruce Heppler

A friend, Greg Dills, was dropping his recycling off at the Lakeport, California, recycling center in July 2014 and happened to glance over at the scrap pile. To his surprise, on the pile was a pair of spoked flywheels. He made a quick U-turn and drove into the scrap yard for a closer inspection.

After determining that there was indeed an engine in pieces scattered through the rest of the pile, he went to the office to strike a deal. The attendant said, “If you want it, it will cost you by the pound and you better hurry up; the truck will be here in five minutes to load the pile.”

Needless to say, the deal was struck – at highway robbery prices. While paying for the engine parts, the grappling crane positioned itself over the pile to begin loading it into the truck that pulled into the yard.

Greg scrambled onto the pile and began pulling off all the pieces he could find. “The grapple was swinging above my head and the operator was giving me dirty looks for holding up his operation,” Greg says. Finally, the scrap yard attendant said, “That’s enough,” and my friend was left to load most of what turned out to be a 4 hp Sparta Economy engine. Showing serial number 12442, it’s a Model C or CA made in 1911 or 1912.

Greg built a cart and assembled the engine as well as could be done with the parts he found. It was taken to the EDGE & TA Branch 13 Woodland Swap Meet, where I first saw it.

A lot of collectors extensively inspected this diamond in the rough, but they all shook their heads and walked off. At the end of the swap meet, Greg said to me, “Bruce, you should buy that engine; you could get it running.” “Not at that price,” I said.

4/10/2018 7:30:07 AM

You got to be kidding me. No completed pictures ruins the good story my be schite.

4/10/2018 7:28:54 AM

You got to be kidding me. No completed pictures ruins the good story my be schite.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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