This hard to find Mantua engine was never sold to the public.

Several sources have confirmed these were mock-ups to determine the final paint scheme used on the first version of the Alco 4301 Bicentennial engine found only in complete sets. They do not have the 4301 number badges that were used in the production models but older 5628 numbers that were available at the time.

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These found their way into the hands of employees, family, and friends. I have only seen two of these on the secondary market in all my years of collecting and I purchased both of them. One is in fair condition and I have kept in original condition, this second engine is in poor condition so I am going to attempt restoring this one with the help a few friends.

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The hand rails around the walkways are missing, there is some paint and body damage from the engine being dropped or having something dropped onto it, one of the small American flags is completely missing, the second flag and those very rare Presidential seals are all in very poor condition.

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The first step was locating or in this case commissioning replacement decals. My friend Reid Kimbrough produced very high quality replacement decals of that original Presidential seal that was used on the early prototype and the version #1 Alco 4301engines.

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Reid has many unique custom items available on eBay and I highly recommend you take a look at his work.

The original sets were recalled after someone on President Nixon's staff wrote Tyco instructing them to stop using the image. Although many of these version #1 engines did make it out into the public they are still very rare and highly collectable items. After the recall the trains set were reissued with the original image still on the cover but the decal on the engines had been replaced with a different decal that did not have the text around the outside.

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Here a few shots of the engine just before taking it apart at the beginning of the project.

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After completely disassembling the engine removing all the electrical and mechanical parts from the engine shell it was off to a good soaking in hot soapy water to remove the years of grim & dirt.

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The hot water would also remove all the remaining decal fragments. Once clean the portion of the body that was damaged could be bent back into share and glued back together.

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The next step was to send the disassembled engine shell, now washed and repaired, up to Wayen for some touch-up on the damaged paint. As always I turned to Wayne Dieffenbacker of Liberty Maine for more of his expert custom painting to help with the restoration. Wayne has many expertly assembled and (airbrush) weathered items available on eBay and I highly recommend him for your custom model work.

While the engine shell is away for the paint work I will clean and repair all of the inner workings. I am also going to install new Kadee couplers on this restored engine. Since I am planning on using and enjoying this on the layout I want to to use the same couplers as all my rolling stock.

After talking with Reid about this restoration we realized this engine would need something special to pull. I have decided to find some vintage Mantua passenger cars that can be cleaned up and repainted in celebration of the American Bicentennial to match this engine. There was a really nice TCA bicentennial special produced in O scale Lionel and I will use that set as my model.

More updates coming soon...

As I have the time I will be adding photos of all my work on this restoration project.

This page was last updated on 05/31/09. Enjoy your visit to "My Trains"

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