Rising Sun, Maryland 21911
It all started one fall day when a friend and co-worker returned from a hunting trip. Knowing I was a collector, he informed me that he had come across, in a wooded area, what looked like part of a flywheel protruding from the ground. He supposed this was on an old engine of some kind. Seeing my interest he promised he would investigate the situation further as he knew the landowner.
Well time has a way of passing and the incident was forgotten until the following spring when he announced his resignation and I reminded him of his promise of the flywheel incident. He again promised me he would follow up on it.
About a week later my home phone rang and it was my friend with news that he had checked with the landowner and was informed that it was an old gasoline engine which had been there for over 20 years. If I was interested, I was to contact him immediately.
My first day off from work found us contacting the landowner. I was surprised to the cordial way in which we were received. He took us to the wooded area to the rear of his home and, lo and behold, there was an old rusted engine laying on its side among the bramble! It was partially submerged with a tree growing up through the flywheel. Upon further investigation we found the nameplate with 5 HP New Holland on it. She had been on a four wheel truck and had not been used in over 20 years. She was last used to operate a cordwood saw when she had stopped. He couldn't get her started so never bothered with her again. Someone had removed three of the truck wheels letting it down on the ground and causing the wooden frame to rot while letting the engine roll on her side.
The landowner informed us that he was going to clear and grade the area and if I wanted the engine to get it out soon, because when the bulldozer came to do the grading he would have them dig a hole and bury it.
As the area was somewhat soft and overgrown with bramble, and we had approximately one-half ton to deal with, we decided that the only way to get her out was with a winch and cable. To be able to get a rig close enough we would have to come across the owner's lawn. We were informed that he was also going to grade it, so any tracks we made would be graded out. We contacted a friend who had a rig just suited for this type of job, and with a little persuading he agreed to try it one evening after work.
When he got within 100 yards of the engine, the rig started to sink. We moved ahead to solid ground and hand pulled the cable through the trees and bramble to the engine, using chains to hitch the cable without doing any damage. We had to cut some small trees to get her out and then we raised her on the hook for the trip home. Having laid on her side with the muffler off, water had entered the cylinder through the exhaust port causing the piston to rust stuck. The valve stems and springs had rusted away and it looked like just a hunk of rusted iron.
So using the old adage, 'time, patience and perserverance accomplishes all things,' we started the long and slow road of restoration, having decided the only way was to completely dismantle to check, clean and paint.
This being our first experience with a New Holland we were very impressed with the way they were built and now know why they were considered the Cadillac of the gasoline engine family.
The toughest problems we encountered were getting the piston unstuck and removing the plugs in the water hopper over the valve. As the engines are headless, it required a lot of penetrating oil, sweat and brain power. We finally got the piston out by using an ingenious device with woman power to remove the plugs. With the help of a collector friend, who had a 5 HP New Holland in running condition, we collected sufficient information to have new valve springs and stems made.
With new wood skids to set her on, we started the reassembly. Except for the valve stems and valve springs, all the original parts were used, even the piston rings. After many hours of pain-taken labor, and with a prime coat of paint, we were ready to bring her back to life.
The engine was equipped with a modified E.K. Wico magneto which. needless to say, looked in pretty bad shape after being exposed to the elements all those years. We jury rigged an ignition system to use the battery and a buzz coil for starting up.
Believe it or not she took off to running on the first try. Boy, was it ever good to hear that old girl bark after being silent all those years, and with a few slight adjustments she went to running on the old Wico. Needless to say, she is one of our prized possessions and takes a top spot in our engine collection. We still have to put on the finish coats of paint, strip and decal her.
To show her appreciation for what we did to her, she starts and runs like new when we show her off to our friends.
Looking back we often think how close we came to not getting her. We passed the place some time later and the grading had been done and a house was under construction on the site where our New Holland had been hidden all those years. It just goes to show you there are still some left-just waiting to be found. No matter how bad shape they may seem to be in, they most probably can be restored.