February 4, 1919—June 1, 2000
Beautiful Scale Engines Built to Run
While the following page documents the work of Lee Root, it is unfortunately short on biographical information. It has been difficult to find family or friends able to lend insight into the man’s life. However, many attendees of a range of model engineering shows will recall Lee and his engines. Further, they will likely remember the joy with which Lee displayed those fine engines. To Lee, engines were always meant to be run, and the louder the better. The rosy-cheeked man could always be seen with a big grin on his face, especially when firing up one of his own creations.
Lee was born in Russia in 1919, and immigrated to the United States as a young man. He settled in the Seattle area, graduating from West Seattle High School. In 1985, he moved to Redmond with his wife, Rose.
At the time of his death in 2000, Lee was working as production manager for Blaser Die Casting in Seattle. Lee was associated with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors as a historian and technical model builder. His work earned him two championships with the Pacific Rim International Model Engineering (PRIME) Club at their shows in Eugene, Oregon.
Remarkably, Lee never produced any drawings for the engines that he built. He worked strictly from his imagination, so unfortunately no plans are available for his unique engines.
Engine collector Paul Knapp was a friend of Lee’s, and now has Mr. Root’s engines in his collection. Four of those engines—the Corvette V-8, the fuel-injected DOHC in-line four, the Model A Ford in-line four, and the 7-cylinder radial—are now on display in the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA as part of the Paul and Paula Knapp Collection (*DJR).
Chevy Power magazine published a 5-page article about Lee and his miniature Chevy V-8 in May, 1978. Dick Lafayette was the author. We thank Randall Brauer for finding and scanning the article for us.
View more photos of Lee Root’s exceptional engines.