The hit n’ miss engine was quite a switch from Mr. Wilson’s daily routine as a mechanic on high performance engines. He fabricated this stationary engine from Jerry Howell’s plans. The engine measures 10.75″-long, 6.9″-wide, 6″-high, and weighs about 13 lbs. It was machined completely from aluminum, brass, and steel bar stock. The engine burns gasoline on spark ignition and is said to coast from 20 to 30 revolutions between firings.

Butch Wilson was an Indy 500 race car mechanic for Dan Gurney, the owner and for All American Racers. He also worked in the pit crews for Al and Bobby Unser (the latter was an Indy 500 winner). See photos below from Mr. Wilson’s Indy 500 days. The first photo shows Bobby Unser in the drivers seat, with Mr. Wilson immediately to his right. The second photo shows Butch standing next to the car with Mr. Unser behind the wheel. Engines were Mr. Wilson’s passion, so model engineering and miniature engine building was second nature to him. This engine is courtesy of Dede Wilson.

Exhibit added: March 3, 2023 - Last modified: March 10, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship