814 S. Sophia Street Homer, Michigan 49245
We were talking in the Tri-State gas engine show at Portland,
Indiana in August 1984 when we came across Robert Best of Kansas
City, MO. He had on display a 1/3 scale size 1 HP John Deere engine
I really liked it. Talking with him, I found out he had built it.
After more talk, he told me he had planned on making only 15 sets
of castings. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted one. So
I asked him if he would put my name down on his list for one.
A few months later I heard from him, wondering if I still wanted
one of his John Deere casting kits. I wrote right back telling him
yes, I sure did.
In August of 1985 I received the castings. I spent the next
three months building the complete buzz rig. I built the engine
first, wagon second, then the buzz rig. I machined all bolts,
screws, pins and several other pieces from stainless steel. All the
springs were made from music wire bought at a music store.
I machined the piston rings from Meehanite (a good grade of cast
iron). Building the ignitor was quite a job, mostly because it is
so small. I kept at it until I got it to work just right and it
The make believe magneto was formed from a small die I made
using cold roll steel. The yellow wire coming from the make believe
magneto is a hot wire connected to a 6-volt motor cycle battery and
a low tension coil that I also built.
I found the wheels for the wagon at an antique auction. The wire
arm rest on the wagon seat and the wire guard on the saw table are
off our Thanks giving turkey. The logo on the side of the seat is
from the phone book.
The red oak used for the wagon is from a tree we cut about 6
years ago which had been sawed into lumber. The belt is made of
duct tape and the saw blade was bought in the tool department of a
chain store. I also built a storage, show and carrying case for the
complete outfit with plexoglass.
This is the second model I have built, the first one being a 1
/3 scale HP New Holland.
My wife and I enjoy reading about new engines, fine workmanship,
models and restorations of old iron that has been bought or found
in the weirdest places. We also enjoy the shows and the stories
about the people getting together talking, ‘show and tell’
and just plain having fun. We have met so many nice people at shows
and some have become fast friends.
So let’s keep building, repairing, cleaning and painting
this old stuff that so many of us grew up with. Maybe it will keep
us from getting old!