Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How I got hooked on old tractors

Although Cliff was raised in the city, he had the heart of a farm boy. We'd been married less than a year when we moved beyond the sidewalks, and we never looked back. Once we bought our first place, twenty acres with a little old house on it, we had to have a tractor.

Cliff went from an old Minneapolis Moline (in the above picture) to a Ford 8-N, and then moved on up to an Oliver 550. He loved each one better than the last. I wasn't interested in any of them, except it was nice that we had a tractor Cliff could use to mow hay for my Jerseys. After many years and a couple of moves to different places, he settled on his "dream tractor": A D-17, Series IV Allis Chalmers.

Once in a while over the years, Cliff would buy an old tractor, paint it, and sell it for a little profit. He also took to painting the D-17 whenever it faded a little.

After my son's family came back from Germany and bought a house nearby, my grandson Arick spent a lot of time here; Cliff decided they should restore a tractor together, and he found an old Farmall H they worked on for a whole winter. The "before" picture is above; below is the "after".

I was overjoyed when it was done. Not because I cared about the tractor, but because at last, money would stop pouring into the project. Do you have any idea how many seals have to be replaced in an old tractor? Do you know how much one of those big tires costs? As I looked at the finished product, I said, "Well, Money-hole, at last you're finished."

And then one fateful year, we went to the Old Thresher's Reunion in Iowa. Seeing all those tractors that were older than me (some twice my age even), looking and running like new, struck a chord: hundreds of born-again tractors! And suddenly, I wanted them all. One of each. I'll take that one and that one and oh yeah, a green one....

So, I was talking Cliff into buying every old "bargain" tractor we found.

(to be continued)


  1. Anonymous8:30 AM

    My husband had an Oliver and my dad had a Farmall!

  2. Luv-luv-luv the pictures. I wouldn't want to collect them, but I sure love old tractors too. They have such an Americana, apple-pie, 4th of July feel to me. Probably because we used to go to the fair and see tractor pulls when we lived in PA.

  3. Great shots of the tractors! That one they restored is beautiful. My husband loves his John Deere and goes out after supper most nights and does something with it whether it needs it or not. I drive it some too but not like he does.

  4. Anonymous8:18 AM

    I love tractors, too! My Papaw had some awesome ones at his farm in East Texas. Thank you for sharing those. You are inspiring some memories today! I look forward to reading more.


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