From the Long Blue Line: A Lindsay-Alamo Engine

Michigan collector prizes unusual Lindsay-Alamo engine.

  • GaryCalvinandhisDogAbby.jpg
    Far left: Gary Calvin and his dog, Abby, with Gary’s restored 2-1/2 hp Lindsay-Alamo (and original Alamo truck).
  • SerialNumberTag.jpg
    Above: Serial number tag from Gary Calvin’s Lindsay-Alamo. The engine was built in 1922.
  • Lindsay_Alamo.jpg
    Above: Gary Calvin’s Lindsay-Alamo, before restoration.

  • GaryCalvinandhisDogAbby.jpg
  • SerialNumberTag.jpg
  • Lindsay_Alamo.jpg

Half the fun of restoring old equipment is the research. Like a detective, Gary Calvin of Reading, Mich., pours over parts manuals and old catalogs - traded, purchased and found. With a fellow collector, Tom Laffey of Hamilton, Ind., the two spend hours on their pet topic: Alamo engines.

Gary's latest project is a 1922 2-1/2 hp Lindsay-Alamo, produced by the Alamo Engine Co. Alamo once operated in Hillsdale, Mich., not far from where Gary and his family live. Gary's father bought the engine more than 20 years ago from Kenny Wolfe, Peru, Ind. Since he had not had the time to restore it, Gary asked his father if he could have the engine. And that's when the work and the research began.

Gary's engine is from Alamo's Blue Line series produced after 1913. It is identified as a Lindsay-Alamo because the Lindsay Brothers company, Minneapolis, Minn., purchased a selection of Alamo engines and installed their own tags on them prior to resale. Gary's engine was in good condition. "It did run, but it needed some work," he says. "The magneto needed to be recharged, but Tom fixed that for me. It was a good, sound engine. I'm proud of it."

Gary paid $50 for a reproduction muffler with the original casting numbers. "A lot of the original parts are being recast for these," he says. "I had to replace the oiler, but everything else is original."

Because Gary's engine is a Lindsay-Alamo, the engine's original color was burgundy, not blue. "The regular Blue Line Alamo color of blue is DuPont 24160," he explains. "The Lindsay-Alamo is different because the Lindsay brothers wanted this burgundy color." He painted the cylinder head, carburetor and flywheel rims with Rust-Oleum Aluminum, and the muffler with Rust-Oleum Gloss Black. Dupont Centari 32678A is a close match for the Lindsay-Alamo burgundy, he says. Original decals are on the side of the water hopper.

The tag on Gary's engine lists the horsepower, and the serial no. (87388) indicates that the engine was produced in 1922. The maximum speed is 500 rpm. "I've seen a lot that didn't have the engine speed stamped on the tag," Gary says. "Usually the horsepower and serial numbers were stamped on. A lot of the tags were missing, perhaps used for souvenirs, or perhaps because of the World War II brass drives." Reproduction tags, he notes, are being made for some Alamo engines.


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