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Did Fairbanks-Morse Ever Make a 17 hp Z?

| 11/14/2018 9:17:00 AM

Photo by Cristy Miller

Reader Cristy Miller, Nappanee, Indiana, has come into possession of a very interesting 17 hp Fairbanks-Morse Z, and he’s hoping to learn more about it as it’s not an engine Fairbanks-Morse ever cataloged, nor does it appear in any available literature. Cristy purchased the engine from a man who inherited from his father, who had recently passed away. According to Cristy, the man and his father had collected a number of engines over the years, including this 17 hp Z. “The gentleman I bought it from said the year was right around 1920,” Cristy says.

Photo by Cristy Miller

A little more looking uncovered the serial number 689137 stamped at the rear of the cylinder. That number dates the engine to 1927. Cristy doesn’t have much information on the engine, other than being told that prior to the seller’s ownership it ran a sawmill for years until the babbitt bearings wore out. According to Cristy, those owners didn’t want to deal with rebabbitting the bearings so they sold it to the man he bought it from, who then had them redone. “The engine now starts and runs very well,” Christy says.

According to Cristy, the man he bought it from said the engine was one of six made in F-M’s Canadian plant. One was supposedly destroyed during testing, another was said to have been lost to a fire, and yet another supposedly went to Australia. That leaves two engines unaccounted for, both of which could be long gone, if in fact they ever existed. All records from Fairbanks-Morse’s Canadian operation were supposedly destroyed.

Photo by Cristy Miller


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