Restoring a Bull's Eye

| April/May 1986

Side-Shaft Engine

 1, Box 459-A Sugar Grove, NC 28679

In 1968 I set out to find a side-shaft engine. At that time, my dad, brother, and I had a collection of engines consisting of 51 various makes and sizes.

I spent a lot of time and drove a lot of miles, but all the leads turned out to be dead ends. After several weeks passed, I set out again early one morning, still searching for that special engine. The stop at a country store turned out to be rewarding. A name was given to me of a guy that had a gasoline engine. As it turned out, he no longer had an engine but knew of a man that did. Then my '57 Chevy and I headed out to where this engine was located. After several stops to ask more directions, I ended up in a farm yard, near Neva, Tennessee.

At the door of this home, I was greeted by Mr. and Mrs. John Neatherly. We talked at length and I finally got around to their engine. Yes, they still had an old engine, and it was fine to take a look. It was better than I could have imaginedsitting in the weeds was a side-shaft engine. The cast brass builder's plate read 'Bull's Eye, 4 B.H.P. #3908 Type G.E.'

By this time, this 18 year old was really getting excited. The over-all appearance looked fairly good; the lubricator and ignitor trip arm were missing. Everything was stuck and the Accurate Magneto type R-V was badly damaged. Half-buried in the ground below the head was the remains of a muffler. Dirt and rust had built up on the inside along with the winter freezing. It could stand no more and broke into 3 pieces. The water hopper was nearly half full of acorns and leaves.

I bounced back to the Neatherly's home and was ready to ask the big question. They said they would agree to sell the Bull's Eye, if it was o.k. with their sons. I returned the following weekend and was delighted to find that they were going to sell me their engine.