Friday, May 22, 2009

On the search for another of Cliff's dream tractors

You city folks might want to skip this entry; once you've seen one tractor, you've seen them all, right?

As I said in the last entry, Cliff wants an old Oliver tractor. It's rather like he's trying to go back to a certain time in his life, back when my cousin Gerald had a big farm and Cliff helped him get his crops planted. Gerald had an Allis Chalmers D-17 Series IV that Cliff loved, and we eventually bought one of those that was Cliff's main tractor for years. He truly had his dream tractor. Once he bought the new John Deere, though, he hardly ever used it. So he sold it to an acquaintance who still thinks it's the best tractor ever.

So now, Cliff wants an Oliver Diesel tractor of the 55 series, another tractor my cousin farmed with, back in the day. He wasn't seeing many of them offered around here, so I suggested he put a "wanted to buy" ad in the farm and garden section of Craigslist.

A fellow from north Missouri called, saying he had one. Cliff mentioned to him that my relatives are originally from that area, and mentioned my mother's maiden name, Stevens.

The guy said, "I bought this tractor from a guy named Stevens." And he gave Cliff that phone number, so Cliff could ask questions about the tractor's previous history.

Cliff dialed the number and found himself talking to someone with whom he'd talked tractors at my last family reunion, a distant cousin. He learned that this particular Oliver had been "rode hard and put away wet", not taken care of at all.

So yesterday evening we went to see the tractor. Cliff started it up and rode it up and down the driveway; boy, did that thing smoke. While he was doing the test-drive, I learned that the present tractor owner's wife is the daughter of a cousin on my dad's side. Good grief, it's like I'm related to this Oliver!

Cliff really prefers the smaller 1655 to this huge 1855, but he'll take what he can get. We go to Kansas today to check out a whole barn full of Olivers; they'll likely be in better condition than the one we saw yesterday. I certainly hope so: That one would have to have an overhaul, which would cost us $3,000. I know this because Cliff talked to his overhaul man. It isn't a job he'd tackle himself.

If he ends up with a tractor like the one in the picture, I only hope there's room on our 42 acres for him to turn it around. That thing looks HUGE to me.


Meadowlark said...

They seem to be green. Which is odd. Cliff probably remembers being little and knowing equipment by color:
International Harvester - RED
Ford - Blue
John Deere - Green
Allis Chalmers - Orange
Cat - Yellow

That makes me smile. Thanks for the memories.

OK, to make a long post even longer with an urban legend from our neck of the woods: The huge potato conglomerate came to our area and ordered 13 John Deere tractors - painted white. This caused much consternation and the dealership called and said I'm sorry, John Deere tractors are never painted white. The man on the phone said "Well, my name is J.R. Simplot." The dealer replied "What color white would you like them". :)

Fernan said...

"once you've seen one tractor, you've seen them all, right? Wrong! We've five 1850's suoposed to be working around here and each one is different from all the others. About the only common ground they all stand on is in their dirty work clothes.