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MOTOR SKILLS EARLY FARM MACHINES ROLLIN'.

Byline: CHARLES F. BOSTWICK Staff Writer

LANCASTER -- Seventy-year-old tractors gleam as if they just rolled out of the factory and antique one-cylinder engines chug slowly at the Rusty Relics' Antelope Valley Fair display.

The machines are certainly relics, but none is rusty: Everything operates -- a testimony to club members' love for old machinery.

``Everything we've got here will run. We can't have junk that won't run. If anybody wants to hear anything, we'll crank it up,'' said member Carl Stacy, 82.

Rusty Relics, a chapter of the Early Days Gas Engine and Tractor Association, has been showing its members' machinery every year for decades at the Antelope Valley Fair. This year its display is on a lawn outside the beef and sheep barn.

Much of the machinery has an Antelope Valley connection.

A 12-ton monster of a diesel-powered irrigation pump operated for nearly 20 years at Lancaster farmer Antonio Piani's alfalfa ranch at 110th Street East and Avenue J.

Producing 60 horsepower from one giant cylinder, the Fairbanks Morse engine was installed in 1934 at the alfalfa farm and pumped irrigation water until 1953, when it was replaced by an electric pump.

A 1955 GMC diesel truck restored by Harold ``Red Dog'' Mansperger started life hauling feed for the Ryckebosch family's poultry. Supplanted in 1969 by new Peterbilts, it was put to work hauling chickens.

Mansperger, 74, who grew up on a Palmdale farm and is an honoree in the Antelope Valley Fair Rural Olympics Hall of Fame, estimates the truck has traveled 4 million miles. It is strictly a showpiece now.

Mansperger has changed the transmission and rear end, installed air suspension, replaced the chicken truck's white paint with bright yellow and put in new upholstery, but kept the original stock appearance.

Stacy is an Arkansas farm boy who came to the Antelope Valley in 1951 and worked as a carpenter, building projects all over the valley and at Edwards Air Force Base.

He has brought a 10-horsepower 1953 Economy garden tractor to the fair. He found it at Tulare's huge farm show and dressed it up a little bit, adding a floorboard and new red paint.

``We enjoy it, coming out here and showing our equipment -- a lot of fun, I think,'' Stacy said.

CAPTION(S):

5 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- color) Rusty Relics member Carl Stacy stands proudly atop a 60-horsepower 1930s Fairbanks Morse diesel irrigation pump.

(2 -- 4 -- color) Harold ``Red Dog'' Mansperger, top, displays his mid-1950s GMC diesel truck at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, not far from, above, a row of antique John Deere tractors. At left is a Rusty Relics hat, worn by members of the engine-appreciation group.

(5) Rusty Relics member Carl Stacy takes the wheel of his 1953 Economy garden tractor at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer

Box:

ANTELOPE VALLEY FAIR
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 28, 2006
Words:474
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