Smokstak Bulletin Board

Why won't he sell it?

I first saw this "Sandwich" engine in 1976 when it was hauled home. It hasn’t been moved since and it is sinking further down in the dirt. The owner still won’t part with it, saying he plans to run it someday. You've got to admire him for not giving up hope, but it’s too bad he won’t cover it up. –Rusty

Buy a tarp and some rope and go over there and offer to cover it for him. I understand this would be out of your pocket, but it would be worth it in my opinion. – Joe

He WILL sell or trade it. You just have not offered him something he wants. Visit with him regularly, talk to him find out what kind of things he would like to have. Once this is known then you can go get the right trading material. This may take months or years but it does work. I have traded dog food and chicken feed for engines. I have traded rifles for engines. I traded a septic system for an engine. I have bailed hay for a tractor. I have traded liquor for a thrashing machine. I've chopped tobacco for a tractor. All of the above deals were NOT FOR SALE the first, second, and third time I asked. People are funny, not everyone puts value on cash. – Patrick

I have a nearly identical situation with an IHC 6 hp. "M" that I'm in love with as I found it by accident. It sits outside and worries me so. The last time I was over to "talk engines" with him, I offered to buy the tarp and rope to cover it and he said "no." Last week I stopped out again since my brother came in from out of state to show him and by golly the old timer had at least covered the low tension mag and had obviously run it in the last couple weeks. Rusty, that's a sweet looking engine and I too would like to get my hands on it. As much as we all dislike it, we have to resign ourselves to the fact that it is his engine to do with as he pleases but it sure seems such a pity that the odds are he will never do anything with it and by the time it does come into your ownership, it will have been molested and or badly stuck from the elements. If you want the darn thing, odds are you'll get it but it takes persistence and patience, both of which you have seemed to apply toward this engine. Try for the sake of the engine, to get permission to cover it and that will buy some time anyway and make you less worrisome about it. It will also help hide it, increasing your chances of being it's next caretaker. I really like the engine and am rooting for you to get it. "May the Force be with you!” – Marty

Rusty, you might consider trading him a nice running, painted up Fairbanks Morse Z in trade or a similar more common engine that is already restored and running. Maybe he just wants a running engine and doesn't care if it is a Sandwich or FM. Good luck. – Mike

Nice old engine, but I’m not sure if I would trade a good F/M for it? It looks to me though, Rusty, it might be exposed to the snow in the winter? If I weren’t so busy with my latest project, I would have to slip up there and have a peek for myself. Maybe even seek out any F/M goodies. – Kid

Rusty, try taking an inexpensive squirt oil-can filled with 50-50 mix of motor oil & kerosene with you next time you go over there, and tell the gentleman that it should be protected from the elements, and ask if it's alright to lube it up for whoever the future owner may be (hopefully, you). If he says no, then just leave the can with him, and pray that he will do it himself. Can't hurt! – Chan

The owner knows as long as he has the engine you will you visit him. After you get the engine, will you still visit him? One collector's story was that after he acquired an engine, under similar circumstances, that after the restoration was complete he took the previous owner along to local shows to exhibit the engine. The previous owner was very happy. Don't know your situation. Don't we all own items that we won't part with but have no interest in them now except that they are ours! Been there, done that! – George

It seems the older we get, the less inclined we are to part with our "things". I have been trying to buy a small Worthington from a gentleman who also has a Hercules that was his fathers and he remembers going to the railway station with his dad to pick it up. The station and railway no longer exist. I have talked with him several times. The last visit I offered to completely restore his Hercules free of charge, Put it on a small cart etc, if he would sell his Worthington. No luck, and will not try again. His comment to me was, What do you know about the worth of a Worthington that I don't. I explained that I wasn’t out to cheat him. Just hated to see both engines go to ruin, and I would like to have the Worthington in my collection. I too have items I don’t want to part with. I have already reached my three score and ten and holding on to them recalls the past when I’m not sure of the future. – Cal

For the engines sake cover it up. If he doesn’t cover it up and does try to restore it some day it will be even harder. Trust me, I know. – Tim

The man has hundreds of pieces of old iron just rusting away on the property he owns. A few inherent problems exist with "saving" this old stuff. A younger man has eagerly taken after him for the past 5 years while I live in another state hundreds of miles away. He has one thing in the back of his mind and that’s money and no interest in the preservation of this old stuff at all. This specific piece was stuck when it was acquired in 1976 and it has had only a few squirts of oil over the years but not enough to help out. It’s hard to care for a piece when you live this far away. The older gent is a prince of a man, however he just has no interest in parting with his goods. That’s OK if they were being looked after properly, in my mind. Trouble is there is just tons of old iron around. Let me say, it is going to be one heck of an auction someday in the future. Most of the good stuff is in barns or old out buildings, but a few pieces are not. -- Rusty

Here is a quote from a certain famous book "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Goods". Good words to live by. Where I live, I have seen numerous similar situations, and have been sorry to see stuff rust away, or eventually be sold for scrap, but after all, it is their stuff, and theirs to do with as they see fit. Put yourself in the older person's shoes: they may have collected it with the intention of restoring it, and never had the time, or funds to do it, and as it is THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY. Sometimes it is just hard admit you will never be able to work with it due to age/health issues, or to face the fact you're getting up in age and facing death. I had and Uncle who would fit the pattern of the scenario above. When he was in his mid to late 80's, he still wouldn't set foot in the local Senior Center. (They have noon meals and activities several days a week.) He always said he wasn't old enough. He had a tremendous amount of engines, etc., that he was going to restore "WHEN HE HAD TIME". Time passed as it always does, and he eventually had a stroke, and lived out his last years in a rest home, finally passing away at age 93. As his POA, I had the task of selling off his stuff to pay the rest home. Due to huge medical bills I had for my kids, I was unable to buy any of it, and had to watch as it was hauled away. I think there are two lessons to be learned here.
1.) If you are getting up in years, have a plan in place to dispose of you stuff, should the need arise, or get legal advise as to how to protect it for a family member who is interested in keeping it in the family.
2.) If you see a site with someone else's old stuff on it, try to accept that IT IS NOT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE IT'S FUTURE, and try to put yourself in the owner's shoes, and realize there are probably some issues in his/her life that have led to the situation as it is. There is sure no harm in nicely approaching the owner about selling, but be considerate, and if they are unwilling to sell DO NOT BUG THEM! -- Bob

Bob, what you wrote was very good advice. When I retired I thought that I would finally have the time to do all those things than I couldn't do when I was working. Eight years after retiring I find myself in the position of where the mind is willing to sign contracts that the body is not capable of fulfilling, a sure sign of approaching old age. I have a small garage full of little engine projects that I will probably never finish.
It sure seemed like a good idea at the time, but the best laid plans of both mice and men sometimes go astray. Unfortunately there is no lineup outside of the garage of people wanting to pay me a little face saving money for this stuff so they can haul it away.
I suspect that there are many others out there in the same boat and the stuff in my garage, such as it is, will just sit there until one of my kids has to dispose of it, because it is not their own interest, and they do not want it themselves. – Russ

In my travels, I see this scene over and over again. For the most part, I simply enjoy the visit, marvel at the view and then go on about my way. It did kind of hurt to see a complete Mogul tractor rotting away in Colorado this way, but I got over it. Besides, I have my own unfinished projects to work on. In a way, we all have the same problem: too much iron – too little time. -- Harry


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