Farm Collector

Mogul Engine Restoration Takes Time

As a collector of International Harvester engines, Johnnie Hough knew exactly what he wanted: a 4 hp Mogul engine. So, after years of looking, when he finally got a shot at one, he jumped on it … even if it meant buying the Mogul engine sight unseen.

“I got it from a guy from Idaho,” he said. “I made a deal on it from a picture I saw at Waukee (Iowa).”

The screen cooled engine falls neatly into the “rare” category.

“It’s pretty scarce,” he said. “They only made 200 of them. Most 4 hp Moguls were hopper cooled, and had a bigger tank.”

It wasn’t the biggest project he’d ever taken on, but it was time consuming.

“I bought it in 1995, and I just finished it this spring,” Johnnie said. Finding parts for the 1914 engine was a challenge.

“I just found the last piece I needed for it at Portland (Ind.) this summer,” he said. “It was an inline check valve for the plunger pump. I had just plumbed in two check valves, but now I’ll put in this original piece.”

The Mogul engine was missing a piston when Johnnie got it.

“Somebody had bored it for a different piston,” he said, “but I found the original piston for it.”

“The mag was pieced together from a bunch of parts, and the original armature looked like it had been burned,” he said. “A friend of mine, Vince Chapman, Tulsa, Okla., cast the water pump bracket and eccentric in cast iron. I made the fuel pump in steel, and I machined all the parts.”

The Mogul’s bright green color generates a fair amount of comment and question at shows, Johnnie said.

“A lot of people say it’s too light, but standards in those days were not as close as they are today,” he said. “They’d mix paint a batch at a time, and it could vary a lot.

“I have the original skids from a Mogul junior,” he said. “They were all covered in grease, but when I cleaned them up, underneath I found the original color, and this is it.”

At the same time he was working on the Mogul engine, Johnnie was restoring an upright 3 hp Famous. The hopper-cooled engine (serial number LF721) dates to 1912. It was more of an undertaking than the Mogul.

“It was in the worst shape when I got it,” he said. “It was just a big pile of parts.

“The crankshaft was bent, so I had to straighten that, and I had to make a gas tank,” he said. “It was missing a carburetor and fuel pump, but new ones had been lined up and were part of the deal.”

The color on the Famous is also correct.

“There were quite a few traces of the original paint on this engine,” he said. “This particular Famous was made for export, and International painted their export models blue. But International did have other equipment over the years that was painted blue.”

Both the Mogul and the Famous are prize additions to Johnnie’s collection of about three dozen vintage engines.

“Both of these engines are pretty rare,” he said. “The Mogul was a real high quality engine in its day. It was too expensive for people in this area, so you don’t find them around here. You’ll find more of them back east, or up north. The Famous was a little better-than-average engine, too. This Famous was a cheaper model, I think: It has the spark plug ignition.”

Fully two-thirds of the pieces in his collection are made by International, including a 1905 upright Famous 2 hp.

“I like Mogul the best, because it’s the top of the line,” Johnnie said. “I like all of them from 1918 back.”

He’s looking for the bigger Famous engines now.

“I have up to and including the 8 hp,” he said. “Now I want the 10 and 12. International made so many, it’s impossible to have them all, but I have most of the little ones.”

Johnnie’s collection originally started with Associated engines, but a friend talked him into International. One of his first engines was a bargain.

“I saw this engine at a show, and about 15 guys were gathered around the truck, looking at it,” he said. “I saw the owner off to the side, so while all those guys were talking about it, I asked him what he’d take for it, and I got it for $200. I liked to rip my pants pocket off getting my wallet out. It turned out to be a $2,500 engine!”

He’s sold on the line.

“International engines just run real nice, and they’re real crowd pleasers,” he said. “And they’re valuable, real desirable, which is important. This is part of my retirement plan, but I get to play with it now.” FC

For more information: Johnnie Hough, Rt. 3, Box 53B, Rich Hill, MO 64779; (417) 395-4153.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1999
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