On July 21, Briggs & Stratton Corporation announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing serious challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Founded in 1908, the Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based company is billed as the world’s largest manufacturer of small gas engines, which have been used on everything from lawnmowers to go-karts to electrical generators. Over its 112-year history, the company introduced a number of innovations, including the aluminum engine, the synchro-balanced engine, and the twin-cylinder engine.
Needless to say, Briggs & Stratton has provided joy to gearheads of all stripes for a really long time, and while Chapter 11 bankruptcy doesn’t mean that the manufacturer is shutting down for good, it’s definitely not fantastic news. So, to pay tribute to the company behind those incredible 5-horsepower engines, we decided to give you a look at what one of these bad boys can really do in the hands of a couple of seriously skilled individuals.
For a video back in 2018, the guys over at the CarsandCameras YouTube channel crafted a beautifully souped-up rat rod wagon. Thanks to a high-performance Briggs & Stratton flathead, and a little bit of mechanical magic, this ride transformed into one absolutely beastly speed demon.
We waited to shoot this video until we had a new set of piston rings for our high performance Briggs and Stratton 5 horsepower flathead engine to fix the smoking. When we took the piston out, we discovered that it had a racing piston, and our rings wouldn’t work! So we honed out the cylinder, cleaning the rust pitting out, reassembled the engine, and installed it on the rat rod wagon. Even though it smokes a lot, it’s actually really fast!
Just listen to the sound of that engine. You gotta love it!