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The oversize connecting rod is massive and made heavy, Bill
says. Bore and stroke are 12-by-24 inches. "There's a lot of cubic
inches there for a single-cylinder."
As far as rarity, Bill says you don't see a lot of these engines
around. "On a scale of one to 10, with one the rarest, maybe it's a
three. You might see more of them around in the South where most of
them were run, but up here in the Midwest, there aren't many. The
only reason it's up here is that a collector would have brought it
up for show. Most of the bigger engines of all kinds up here are
diesels, too." He's heard there are quite a few of the engines
around in pieces, flywheels here, heads there.
"Why do I collect? I grew up on the farm, and though we never
had any engines like that, I was always tinkering with something,
and I always liked them," Bill says. The engines related back to
the farm, and he was interested because the purpose of those
engines was to make farm life easier. "Like most collectors, my
biggest thrill was always to find an old rusted one, and get it
running. Once it was painted and running, the challenge was gone,
so I moved on to another one."
Bill used to have some 50 engines in his collection, but nothing
really rare, he says. In addition to Maytag, Stover and Fuller
& Johnson and the like, he's also had a full run of Economy
engines, but he's sold many of them now. His greater interest is
the Superior 35 HP and a couple of tractors, a Little Bull and a
Bill says he was really excited to be able to get the Superior
35 HP engine. "It's very seldom you come across something like that
that's in the shape it's in. It's right in your backyard, and you
don't have to haul it or anything." If it had to be hauled, that
wouldn't be too difficult either, as John had built a sturdy set of
trucks for it. "It had 12-inch I-beams for the skids, and has some
pretty hefty wheels from a threshing machine on it."
Bill says it's getting to the point where he wants to repaint
"I painted all my gas engines and tractors myself, so I'll
repaint this one in a couple of years. Probably in the same dark
green, but we'll dress it up a bit more, with red pin striping, and
red wheels. But right now it's in good condition, because it's kept
inside all the time," Bill says.
More than the machine itself, Bill says, he enjoys the people.
In his case, that includes his family, his sister Sue Smith, who
lives in Rochester, Minn., and her children. "As children we lived
right across the street from Pioneer Power, so we grew up with it.
My sister and I were talking one day and she said she'd like to
have something like that engine to have an interest in, so her boys
could get involved. So they help me take care of it and run it,
too. It's a family venture."