The Fairbanks Flash Rides Again!


| May/June 2001



Water tank

9322 State Route 13 S. E., Route 1, Glouster, Ohio 45732

This is the story of the latest of my brainstorms, The Flash. That The Flash rides again, gives the impression that it rode before, was put out to pasture, and made to run again. That is the case with the Flash.

Several years ago, I put together an ice cream freezer, powered by a 1 HP Economy engine and a right angle gear box. The freezer made one gallon of ice cream, which worked well, but a gallon of ice cream does not go very far on hot days, especially when friends hear the putt-putt and stop by to see what is happening. A freezer twice as big seemed to be about right, so I bought a two gallon size freezer. Being somewhat taller, this would require a rather ungainly setup, so a better system was needed. Thus was the idea of the Flash born. This would not only operate the freezer much more handily, but would also be self-propelled.

Many years ago, I bought an 118 Fairbanks engine, about 7 or 8 HP, intending to pump a well with it. I had it stored in a garage, but the flood of '98 found it and covered it up. I had to tear it down, and completely clean it up, and in the process decided that if I have to do this much work on the engine, it was going to do something for me in return.

Having long admired the Waterloo Boy tractor, and the Mogul on the GEM fly cover, I designed the Flash along these lines, using the Fairbanks for power. I then bought a Dodge 50 pickup with a bad engine, and salvaged the rear axle and springs, five speed transmission, and steering assembly. This size truck is about a foot narrower than a full-size truck, making a handier width machine.

I designed the frame to fit the rear springs, and narrowed it to allow for front axle tilt and wheel turning clearance. The frame is built of four inch channel, but three inch would probably be strong enough. I located a front axle from a commercial lawn mower, such as was used to mow golf courses, and made the front of the frame come to a proper fit for this axle.