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“The Bug” rides again

Thor Anderson (right) and his good friend, Keaton Black, were recently out for an “afternoon cruise” on what is called the “Bug”. Made by Thor’s great great uncle Ellsworth Meier of Badger in the 60’s, it was up and running again in the 90’s thanks to Corey Scharf and Sam Penas, and now, and after many weeks of work, Albert Penas and his grandson, Thor, brought life back to the Bug once more. (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)


It was a “bug” of sorts that Thor Anderson’s great-great uncle, Ellsworth Meier, of Badger, had put together in the 60’s. By using a John Deere Lu engine off of a combine along with a transmission and frame from a Model A together he made a unique form of transportation.

“In the mid-90’s, Corey Scharf and Sam Penas got it running again,” Thor said. “They would take and drive right through the bog with it  – it had rear wheel drive with chains on the back tires!  They also drove to Wannaska on various occasions.”

While Thor and his Grandpa Albert Penas were taking out various implements and tractors from the shed this summer, they ran into the “bug”. Thor explained that he was surprised when his Grandpa agreed to let him take it home.

He laughed and said,“‘If you want to – it’s just something less for me to store.’”

Over a number of weeks, grandpa and grandson worked as a team – a lot of patience, know-how, and ingenuity went into getting the “bug” up and running again.

“It took at least 50-75 quarter turns before the engine took off.  It was firing on only one cylinder.  We took the magneto cap off, cleaned the points; grandpa checked to see if there was spark and there was.  He took out the spark plug, dumped some oil down in there to help with the spark and after we did that, it was a matter of five turns and it was running.”

To see the complete story, read the September 6 issue of The Tribune.

1 Comment

  1. Dean Meier on May 22, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    Dad built this in the 70’s not the 60’s I was there for the first ride.

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