Sandwich Club Show Favorites

Favorites from the Sandwich Early Day Gas Engine Club show.


| February 2015



1948 Cletrac HG

Elmer Kemper at the controls of his 1948 Cletrac HG.

Photo by Lyle R. Rolfe

Now a bastion of antique gas engines and tractors, the Sandwich Early Day Gas Engine Club show, held at the Sandwich, Illinois, fairgrounds, got its start as part of an antique car show.

Formed in 1970, the fledgling club held its first show the following spring. “It was a joint show with the Sandwich Jaycees and the Silver Spring Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club on Memorial Day,” recalls Ray Forrer, who has served as vice president of the group since its founding.

The two groups held a joint show for 10 years before parting ways. “We had developed a strong following as an engine show,” Ray says. “We’d have up to 600 engines on the grounds.” At that point, the club expanded the event to a two-day show and added antique tractors to the mix.

Today, the club’s annual show is held the last weekend in June. Exhibitors arrive Friday to set up on heavily shaded grounds. Many of the displays are antique tractors. “We’ve built up our tractor display to the point that it is almost as big as the engine show,” Ray says. Among the displays at the June 2014 show were these standouts:

Letting go of a favorite

Dan Quantock, a long-time member of the Sandwich club, sold the last of his restored farm vehicles – a 1950 Wards tractor – in an auction at the club’s 43rd annual show.

Dan has restored many antiques over the years but the Wards was one of his favorites. Built for Montgomery Ward & Co. by Harry A. Lowther Co., Joliet, Illinois, between 1950 and ’52 (some sources say 1949-1951), the Wards tractor was produced in fairly small numbers: about 2,100 units.