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Home-Built Model Engines Are “Mechanical Masterpieces”
“I’m 75 years old and a former high school shop teacher, and I’ve never known anyone with the skills this man has. It’s a story that your readers should know about, before the engines are auctioned off,” says Curt McGhee.
He recently called FARM SHOW to tell us about a 91-year-old acquaintance of his who took up a new hobby in his retirement. Bob Suhre worked for an aircraft company. When he retired he started a new hobby that he knew nothing about - making model engines. Over the years he has built 18 different engines, and they all run. His friends say they’re “mechanical masterpieces”.
“These engines are incredibly complicated, and even though Surhe had never cut a piece of metal in his life before starting out he learned how to make his own crankshafts, blocks, cylinder heads, valves, etc.,” says McGhee. “He works in a 1-car garage that he converted to a shop. There’s not an inch of space in that garage that he’s not using.
“Surhe had no formal training. He read some books, and consulted with a local machinist whenever he needed help.”
Surhe has built several model V-8 engines, three 4-cyl. engines, and 5 hit and miss engines. There’s also a mini Caterpillar engine from the 1930’s.
“I decided to build these engines because I was looking for a challenge. Each time I finished building an engine I would find a little more complex engine to work on,” says Surhe.
“I built my first engine in 1989, a year after I retired. It was modeled after a hit and miss engine that I read about in Home Shop Machinist magazine. The writer called it an ‘odds and ends’ engine, and that’s what I call mine, too. Once I got it built I was absolutely amazed that it would run.”
Surhe recently moved into a nursing home, and all of his engines will be auctioned off. (Aumann Auctions, Inc., Nokomis, Ill. ph 888 282-8648; www.aumannauctions.com).     
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bob Suhre, Cedarhurst of Highland, 220 Field Crossing Drive, Apt. 42, Highland, Ill. 62249 (ph 618 882-4422).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1