I have been considering sending you t his stor y for a few months so, f inally, here it is. It is in regard to unusual uses for engines.
Back in the 90s I worked as a farm machiner y sa lesman in South Austra lia and so, af ter selling a machine, I would deliver it and insta ll it on farm. One day I delivered a machine about 100km from the dealership behind t he old inter AB180 tow-truck. As you could imagine, tow ing a wide machine 100km can be a bit slow so after an early sta rt I arrived about 10am and started f itting the machine to the owner’s tractor. I was inv ited to t he house for lunch and on the walk to the house we past severa l old stone sheds. One had the sliding door open a couple of feet and as I glanced in I t hought I saw an aeroplane prop. Obviously, t here was going to be a stor y attached to t his.
The stor y went that back in t he 40s af ter t he war, steel and bolts etc were hard to buy. So t his bloke’s fat her and his brot her travelled about 250km in the old farm tr uck to an air f ield at Port Pirie and purchased an old Av ro t win-engine plane. They cut the wings off with an a xe and strapped them to t he f uselage, put t he ta il up onto t he back of t he truck and towed it home. When they got home they stripped it out and took one engine each and life went on.
Come the early 60s and this customer of mine is into his early teens and had some mates over for some f un. They thought they would sit the old Av ro Anson radia l engine up on a 44 ga llon drum to get a better look at it. They found t hat it turned f reely and, rea l ly, t he only t hings stopping
it from running were fuel and the lack of a magneto. Some weeks later on a trip to Adelaide and this mob happened to walk past an army disposal store, went in and found that they stocked Av ro Anson magnetos. Of course they bought one and took it home and fitted it and, along with at in of fuel and a swing on the prop, the old girl fired up.
But it wasn’t too stable on the 44 gallon drum so in another shed was an old 32 Ford B model buckboard. It was decided to bolt it to the tray with the prop out the back. They drove the old Ford out into the paddock and fired up the old 7- cylinder radial and away they went. Back wards at a fast rate of k nots. The end of the prop was quite close to t he ground so it was throwing up lots of grass and dirt and rocks which meant they had to hide behind these at and take a quick glance ever y now and t hen. After a couple of near misses with fences and trees it was decided to park it in t he shed. For good.
So, after 35 years, there it was as parked with the big burn hole in t he tray from the straight out exhaust and some old bags draped over it. I reckon it would have still run and I wouldn’t mind betting it’s still there. It is one of those memories that will stay with me for ever.
Andrew Schmidt, Tasmania.
OPPOSITE PAGE Hmmm, should I go for the Mad Max hatch or wagon, decisions, decisions.ABOVE Now that you’ve seen the drawing, there’s nothing too complicated about radial motors. Right?