Dream Machines

--Vintage cars, rock bands, tractor pulling, experimental engines, low-riders, WW II aircraft, WW I aircraft, Stirling engines, steam rollers, dragsters, experimental vehicles, farm machinery, sailplanes, motorcycles old and new, military vehicles ...all at the same show?? Incredible! All of this and more was on display at the '99 Dream Machine Show, held this past April 25 at the little municipal airport just North of Half Moon Bay, CA. How I managed to get out of there without exchanging my soul for some of the juicier items I'll never know.

--At guess I would say there were around 500 exquisite automobiles, another 200 motorcycles and a few hundred other items, populating various domains along the runways and turnouts. With the exception of one main runway, all the asphalt and meadows were covered with vehicles, contraptions, throngs of people and a passle of happy dogs.

--Below are some of the photos I took in my trek through the event. By no means did I manage to see it all and in my sloppy way some of the photos I snapped were less than perfect. I'd love to share links to photos taken by anyone else who was there.

--There are 23 photos of mine and below that are more from others, as well as some letters they have sent me regarding the event, so they may take a while to load. Just try to read slowly while they are transferred... :-)

This thing might have started out as a snow cat (??), but now it can make quite an impression at the tractor pull! Twin V-8s behind the drivers' seats.
A selection of vintage 4-stroke engine-powered tethered race cars.
An interesting can crusher that required input from folks passing by. A wheel had to be turned, even though it seemed to be unrelated to the contraption (looked like a buried speedometer cable did the trick...), which caused a ball to run down rails and into a funnel. The ball eventually triggered the can crushing mechanism.
A "Bucket T", one of several at the event.
I'm not sure what world record this thing holds, but from the rumbling sounds from under the hood, it was probably a speed record!
Jim Symanski, a friend of Jim Tangeman's who definitely shares Jim's passion to tinker with Stirling engines. He had several home-made engines on display and all ran beautifully.
In addition to being an interesting Stirling engine, this thing had a unique way of being fired, from the side.
Another Stirling engine. This one was built by Don Isaac and I have a letter from him posted below as well as a better photo of it that a friend of Mike Kan's snapped. The engine was absolutely silent while in operation! Beautifully machined. To the right in the photo is one of the commercially-made Pakistani hot air fans that are so hard to import.
At first I thought this marine engine was a Hicks, but it said "Frisco Standard" on the side of the cylinder. A very quiet runner it was. The red thing above it was a jib crane that blocked an otherwise decent photo (sigh...).
A nicely cared for self-propelled plow (what is the proper name for these things??). It ran well in both forward and reverse. Wish I could find a spare one of these...
A big-ass donkey engine! Not sure where this beastie calls home, but it was definitely set up for the long haul on a monster flatbed trailer.
The venerable Buffalo Springfield steam roller; the oldest one I had ever seen...
Here's a close-up of various mechanisms located amidships on that steam roller.
Not a Case, but a Russel traction engine. I got a note from the owner Glen Christoffersen and it's posted below this first series of photos.
Bud Leutza is the current custodian of this interesting steam automobile which has, from time to time, belonged to Dave Dewey, Jim Tangeman and myself. Bud has really done it justice with improvements to the rear axle, a complete makeover of the chassis woodwork and other mechanical details.
Not your typical motorcycle and side-car. Tucked behind the passenger compartmet there lurks a mean looking V-8!
Aha! Someone has beat Detroit to the punch. This is a production model 3-wheeled electric town car called a Sparrow. For a mere $12,900 (gack!!) you can cruise on electrons instead of gas. Well, at least it's not $32,000 and it's not called the "Impact" (Nice going, GM...).
Possibly my favorite vehicle at the entire event: it's an Aardvark-cycle! Covered entirely with thick fur and resembling a large stuffed toy, the owner/operator was merrily cruising it back and forth.
A folding motor scooter, vintage between '47 and '51. The owner had this one on sale, but was looking for more of them.
A rather incredible mobile home. It reminded me a little of a converted horse trailer, but it appeared to be too well made for this to have been its origin.
I'm in love! It looks like Mr. Toad drove it just the other day. A 1926 Model T Speedster and on sale for a mere $8,600. I have no idea of what a fair price would be for a vehicle of this era, but it sounded like a bargain; wish I could justify it... Dave Dewey sent along further details about it, as well as a photo of the one he is restoring. All of that is posted below this series of photos.
The happy owner smiles in front of his White flatbed truck. Not a steam vehicle though: earlier he was cranking away to get it ticking over...
There was one whole row of armored vehicles, including this one of relatively recent manufacture. I asked one of the folks from this contingent what was involved in purchasing something so ...interesting, i.e. how much of a chore to get the export licenses, etc. He said that this particular model was available in the current Nieman-Marcus catalog!
A beautiful B-25, and uncommonly equipped with a stinger in its tail.
The other end of the same aircraft: great nose art, too!
I want it!! This little bulldozer would be such a great toy for a meadow like mine. I'd be like a kid in a sandbox with this one, at least until the neighbors called the cops... $3,000 would take it home.
A beautifully made replica of a Wright engine.
Just some of the Model As at the event. They were all over the place, but this row was particularly striking.
On the way home I passed this contraption and I finally stopped for a look. Unfortunately, the owners are tired of gawkers and there are numerous "No Trespassing" signs. That and a steep driveway kept me from getting an ideal photo. It's a vertical-axis wind turbine made of oil drums that have been cut in half. The thing spins easily even in a slight breeze. I don't believe it's generating power; it may only be decorative. Still, it is food for thought! The supporting framework looks like angle iron and the bearing might be salvaged from a truck or car.

From: Mike Kan
Unfortunatly I never made it to the "Dream Machines" show. A Friend of mine who did attend sent these pictures of a Bro who builds Stirling engines.
Do you know or know who might have contact infomation?
Will make attempt to go to the next local show.
Mike Kan

Ed note: this first one was built by Don Isaac; see his letter below. The second one is the work of Jim Symanski, who appears in the photo.

Subject: Re: Dream Machine Show Report
From: Dave Dewey
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 23:26:38 -0700
Neat! Thanks for sharing. Gee, I miss my steamer!
BTW, the '26 T speedster is sporting a pre-16 radiator, '14 fenders, '14 hood & '14 windshield & cowl board. Might have a '26 chassis under it though! Price is probably about average, though I suspect high, unless it has some unusual stuff under the hood (all sorts of 'hop-up' stuff available for T engines).

David D.

Photo of my '15 T so far, note that '15-'16 fenders have an 'eyebrow' on the fronts, '14s don't (well, mostly, as some do!)

Subject: Stirling Engines at Dream Machines
From: Don Isaac
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 08:40:51 +0100
Just looked at your "Dream Machines" pictures. They are great. I'm Don Isaac and the builder of the quiet Stirling engine. I have a website at: http://www.tamin.com which is kinda out of date but gives some information about the engines. I did not have a chance to visit any of the other Dream Machines this year and your photos are the first I've seen. Good job and thanks for including my engine.
The Stirling engine builder with the beard is Jim Symanski. Have we met before?

Subject: Half Moon Bay
From: Glen Christoffersen
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 10:24:00 -0700
I just discovered your great set of photos from the Dream Machine Show. Your "possibly a Case" traction engine is my 1906 Russell traction engine, built by Russell and Company in Massillon, Ohio. It's a 12/36 horsepower, it weighs 12,000 pounds dry. It was originally sold in Portland, Oregon, and spent its working life running a threshing machine in the area around Junction City, Oregon. My wife and I bought it in 1993, and finished its restoration just in time for the Dream Machine Show in 1996. It has been at the show every year since then.
Thanks for your show! I was so busy with the Russell that I didn't get to see much else.
Glen Christoffersen
Redwood City

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