A visit to an engineering star in Tasmania and he drives one.
Describing Joe is always going to be difficult but he is definitely a hands on Engineering Star. Having retired from an engineering career Joe has collected a variety of Stationary Engines, Vintage cars, Tractors and an eclectic mix of other agricultural machinery and personally renovated many of them.
I came to meet Joe while I was on vacation in Tasmania with my lifelong friend Nicky from Sydney. Joe has purchased and constructed five OMC Model Engines as well as a spare Knife Switch Kit so I was expecting small scale engineering. Well as you can see from the pictures Joe can also work on a much larger scale and thinks nothing of renovating a massive Bulldog tractor and has a fine collection of other tractors.
The Lanz Bulldog was made in Germany before WW11 and in Australia by Kelly and Lewis after the war in Springvale Victoria. This tractor was designed to use crude fuel sources as refined fuels were hard to find in rural parts at that time. This made starting this beast time consuming as a cast iron bowl has to be heated with a blow torch so that a variety of fuels can be vaporized but Joe delighted in getting one going, deftly backed it off its trailer and as you can see I got to drive it. Amazingly you use the steering wheel as a starting handle, clever.
Nicky having a go.
Joe’s ability with a lathe means that he can tackle many jobs that I would not contemplate and the results are clear to see. You can see the state of the tractor when Joe found it and how it looks today although plenty of work is still to be done. Joe is clearly enjoying himself.
He also likes bikes and has a 1915 BSA army issue among others and gets to ride his Mate’s 1916 GCS fitted with a Swiss Magi V twin engine. These bikes were made in Melbourne by George Charles Stilwell.
Dam!! Zips gone again.
And what of that Knife Switch Kit. Well, Joe has a 1910 Star Roadster which he has been working on for 17 years or so and he has created a period battery pack for this wonderful vehicle but needed an on/off switch in keeping with the times and used our classic Knife Switch.
The Star Motor Company was based in Wolverhampton, UK and produced cars from as early as 1897 (the Star Benz) but from around 1904 until 1932 they made their own vehicles.
More about the Star Motor Company can be found at
More about my friend Nicky can be found on the next Blog. It’s worth a look.