Monday, February 29, 2016

Searching for the perfect little tractor

When we first got married and shortly thereafter bought a house on twenty acres, my parents sold us an old Minneapolis Moline tractor for very little money ($100?  $150?).  It had no brakes and we lived on a hillside; Cliff's brother's little boy had a close call with it once, riding along with Cliff.  We soon bought a safer, more dependable tractor, a little Ford 8N.  That served our purposes pretty well, but after a couple of years, a co-worker of Cliff's was restoring an Oliver 550 he was going to sell.  Although I strongly protested, as we had to get a loan to buy it, buy it we did, and Cliff thought he had the greatest tractor ever built!  On down the line, we sold it when we no longer needed it.

Because Cliff's hobby these days seems to be restoring old tractors and tinkering on them in general, I started harping at him that I wanted a 550, just for old times' sake. 

He obliged me.  Then he sold that one.  I complained.  He bought another one and soon sold that one too.  I don't know how many 550 Olivers we've gone through, but it must have been five or six.  There's THIS ONE in 2010.  THIS ONE in 2012, the most recent one sold; Cliff had it painted up pretty and we were taking it to shows, but he took it up north somewhere to get it worked on and the tractor mechanic called to ask if Cliff wanted to sell it, so he did.  One time there was a 550 and a super 55 he picked up really cheap somewhere that he sold to one guy (the guy "up north" I just mentioned, as it turns out).

Just type "550" in the search thingie on the upper left corner of my blog and you will see plenty of pictures of the various little Olivers Cliff has looked at and bought and sold; one resides in Hamilton, Missouri, at the home of a friend and former co-worker.  

The thing is, that's the particular model of tractor I personally want him to keep.  That one and the Allis, because those are the two he was proudest of and used the most in our younger years.  I whine every time he sells yet another 550... he even won a show with that last one, and poof, it's gone.  His excuse has been that he wants one with power steering (I never understood this, because he won't be farming with it, just taking it around to tractor drives and parades and shows).  Anyhow, each time I whine he says, "I'll find another one."

For the last month he's been looking at a 550 for sale that he spotted on a Facebook Oliver group.  Two problems:  the guy wanted an arm and leg for the thing, and it was located in Indiana.  Every time Cliff mentioned Indiana, I excitedly responded "Road Trip!!!".  But the price was crazy.  He kept talking about the thing and finally I said, "Just call the guy and talk to him."

The guy came way off on the price (I had to start someplace, he said); Cliff and his brother headed to Indiana yesterday morning and will be bringing the tractor home today.  Oh, and it has a really nice loader on it that we can sell to recoup part of his tractor-fund money.  This 550 is a late model (1973) and does indeed have power steering.  I missed out on the road trip because the timing wasn't right... I needed to be here today to babysit.  That's OK, it was a really fast trip with no extra stops to look at points of interest.  

Cliff will be selling this little 550 over my dead body.  Which of course isn't saying much, at my age. 

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