At my first Portland (1999) I purchased a converted Briggs (circa 1910) from Leroy Clark. Leroy had converted the engine to a hit and miss open crank horizontal from its original vertical closed governed design.
Leroy did a great job with the engine, but since I was heading back to Oz we finalised the deal hurriedly and the engine was not quite there. Ever since then when the fancy took me I worked on it, but could never get it to run more than a few pops at a time.
The trip back to Australia is worth commenting on... with the help of George Best the engine was crated at about 11pm on the eve of my departure back to Australia via LA. No-one was sure if the engine would be allowed on a plane or not. I removed the fuel tank that came with the engine and cleaned it up a bit. The crate was accepted onto the plane although they did put it through a gas detector. Back in Australia things were not so simple, the wooden crate excited a little attention from customs. Once the guy saw what was in it the guy turned out to be a fellow collector and all went well. Last year (2000) I brought it back to the USA on a plane and had the same problems coming into the USA with it. I got it over to Portland in 2000 without too much hassle - seems domestic USA flights have seen everything so someone checking in with a stationary farm engine just does not excite them!
At Portland 2000 Leroy had a play with it, and of course for him it ran - is that not always the way? I took it back to Oakland California where I'm living presently and put it onto skids, attached the new fuel tank I got at Portland and made it all ready.
I cleaned the buzz coil and wired everying up nicely. That was the easy part, from then on I've tinkered with it now and again never able to get more than a few pops out of it.
Today (July 13th 2001) with Portland looming I took the whole thing apart and put it back together after cleaning everything. I adjusted a few things and set the timing to what I think was right. Fueled and oiled, on the third tug it popped (which is about as far as I've ever gotten) - on the fourth off it went! Of course, now it will not start again since it stopped but at least I know I'm very close. I think I can safely say it will run at Portland this year.