Sta Rite There

Redd Stanberry Antique Engine Shop

Donnie gave me a tour of some of the antique engines that will show at the Antique Engine Show for Buckeye Oktoberfest Saturday, October 12th at the Buckeye, Arena, 802 North First Street or Miller Road in Buckeye, Arizona. Redd Stanberry and Donnie Gideon not only work together at Arizona Gin Supply but are extremely knowledgeable and passionate collectors and mechanics of antique engines. Donnie Gideon says Redd’s been collecting anything that could spit at you since the late 1960’s. They even restored a 1914 Dempster windmill. Like any collector, Redd and Donnie not only like to get old engines running but also see how slow they can run, it is a THING with antique engine collectors.

Since cast metal engines weigh several tons, Redd and Donnie make custom steel carts with wheels on the bottom with a handle to pull.

Currently on the lift are Sta Rite’s twin engines, one from 1908 and the other from 1926 both 3 horse power. 110 years ago they were in the factory together coming out at the same time which is pretty rare to find. These Sta Rites are highly sought after because they are really well built engines. Racine was a company around in 1906. The company moved from Racine to Lacrosse so they only made a few engines. They folded under soon after moving to Lacrosse. There is a registry that collectors refer to that confirms they were in business and made only 100 engines. “When we got the engine, we tore it apart and have been rebuilding some things that were a little messed up”, says Donnie.

Sta Rite Engine built in Racine, Wisconsin

Gertrude is the nick name for a rare Sta Rite from 1910. Many collectors seek this cast metal rarity. Donnie says she has a clutch pulley used to engage a belt and run a corn grinder, water pump, drill or whatever early pioneers needed to use.

Red and Donnie call this Sta Rite “Gertrude”

Gertrude runs off a magneto which means it has it’s own box that creates a spark, kind of like an alternator in your car. This is one of the first magnetos ever made. Originally it wasn’t built right. “It took us about 2 years to go through it with some help from other mechanics to figure out how to make it work right”, said Donnie. Redd found ways to improve it without messing with the engine. There is only one other like Gertrude and it is in Oregon. They are so rare, there is no paper work on these.

1909 Waterloo Boy

Redd has an engine that is pre John Deere. John Deere bought out the Waterloo Boy Tractor Company in 1918 in Waterloo, Iowa. Alot of these companies didn’t necessarily make their own engines. One company would make the engine and sell it to other companies which would slap their own label on the engine and sell it. These photos just don’t do these engines justice. You must go to the Antique Engine Show October 12th at the Buckeye Arena. Gates open at 9:00 a.m.

If I had a Pattern, I’d Sew…

Mario Robles, owner of Contempo Auto Upholstery is working on his Buick Special 1963 red convertible in time for Buckeye Oktoberfest Helz on Wheelz Car Show this October 12th at Buckeye City Hall. Robles is neighbors with the Buckeye Machine Shop located 204 E Butler Avenue in Historic Downtown Buckeye, Arizona. Robles started Contempo Auto Upholstery 3 years ago.

What do you work on mostly? Cars, furniture, RV’s, basically anything that needs upholstery repair, “I take care of it!”

Mario Robles of Tapiceria Contempo Upholstery

Mario Robles of Tapiceria Contempo Upholstery

Who taught you this cut and sew trade? I started looking for a job 35 years ago in California. I stopped one day in an upholstery shop and I was given the opportunity to work there. Before I knew it, 3 years later, I was making patterns and sewing on my own.

Mario Robles repairs upholstery.

Mario Robles repairs upholstery.

Mario works with commercial grade sewing machines and threads.

If Mario doesn’t have the template already made for a dash mat, he can create one to fit any size dash.

How do you figure out exact measurements for your work? For example, for the convertible top for my Buick there are instructions and a convertible top already made that I order from the factory. I just use the instructions if I have any questions. My work does take experience. I pretty much know what I am doing.

Mario works with commercial grade sewing machines and threads.

Mario works with commercial grade sewing machines and threads.

Where do you do all the work? My machines are on site. How many sewing machines do you have? Five, including embroidery, overlock, zig zag, walking foot and serger. I can embroider any custom logo.

What is your work load? I have plenty to do! I am working on outdoor cushions for a company in Scottsdale, 1998 Chevy truck new interior, my Buick convertible cover, a bunch of car seats and then the custom dash covers are keeping me busy. You can find me every weekend at the Glendale Park and Swap selling custom dash covers. I enjoy what I do, and I make good money!

Mario's embroidery machine on-site.

Mario’s embroidery machine on-site.

Contact Mario Robles at 602-435-2166

Interview by Lara Serbin of Buckeye Main Street Coalition