Cliff had quite an adjustment to make, once I became a confirmed old-tractor addict. He'd spent his entire married life hearing me say, "We can't afford it." Now, suddenly, I was willing to beg, borrow or steal in order to get any old tractor that sounded like a good buy.
One time when we were visiting at my Uncle Leo's farm, we went moseying around the place peeking into all the outbuildings. In a dark section of his barn I spotted a tractor; I suppose it would be more accurate to say "part of a tractor".
"What kind of tractor is that?" I asked. "Does it run?"
Uncle Leo said it was a WC Allis that he'd bought for parts; his WD had needed a radiator, and buying the old WC was the cheapest way to get one.
"Is it for sale?"
Now at this point, Cliff was starting to squirm. He loves all tractors, but he had no desire for a WC Allis. It was one of those old relics that came in and took the place of horses, and it had absolutely no bells and whistles. The hand brake was impractical. This wasn't something Cliff would ever need or use. Honestly, it was junk. But much to his dismay, Uncle Leo gave us the tractor. Here he is with the old beast on the day we loaded it up and brought it home.
We checked the serial number on the frame and found out it was one of the first "styled" WC's made. A friend of Cliff's brother gave us another WC parts tractor; and honestly, there may have been more of that one in the finished project than Uncle Leo's. But the end product was a sight to behold, and became quite a conversation piece at tractor shows.
We won't even talk about how much time and money went into the tractor, although Cliff says he thinks it was less than he put into the Farmall H he and Arick restored. But remember, this wasn't a tractor Cliff even wanted. He did this one all for me.
The twins next door drove the WC in the Parade of Power at a nearby tractor show.
And then gas started going up, up, up. Our pickup gets about ten miles per gallon, and we really couldn't justify hauling tractors around the countryside for shows. The WC sat in a corner except for perhaps twice a year when Cliff would use it just to make sure it still worked.
Our interests changed. I started spending a lot of time on horseback, and the two of us rode the motorcycle for recreation.
But that WC reminded me of my favorite uncle, now deceased, and I wasn't about to let it go anywhere!
To be continued.