P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534
I would like to share a few thoughts concerning John Deere G's. For those who might not know, the G is the identical (in appearance) 'big brother' of the John Deere A, which is identical (in appearance) to the 'little brother' John Deere B. All three are row crop tractors.
I grew up on a small farm in central Texas, on and around John Deere A's and B's, just about the time production of these letter series models ended. It seems every John Deere owner either had an A or a B and nobody had a G. As a farm kid growing up driving tractors, I had never even heard of a G and didn't even know they existed for many years. They just didn't seem to be around, at least that is the way it was around here. A long time tractor mechanic/collector told me (speaking of an era which began just prior to the mid-30's and for just over a half decade later), 'around here, the poor people bought the small B's, the rich people bought the A's and nobody bought the big G's. That same era is when these B's, A's and G's were manufactured 'un-styled' which was prior to the grill that covers the radiator and front steering column.
I have been searching around for an unstyled G for a few years and you can imagine how scarce they are now considering the fact they couldn't be found in their own day and time. Recently, I was able to buy one sight-unseen, over the phone, approximately 150 miles from my home. The owner said it had a can on the muffler to keep rain out of the engine and I just couldn't wait to see it. As I approached the G, when I arrived to get it, I could see that it did have a can on the muffler but the bottom had rusted out of it and the can had fallen down to the hood at the bottom of the muffler! I wish I had a photo of the G as it sat in its resting place, but I was afraid to show my camera because the landowner, where the G owner had the tractor stored, was already complaining to the G owner about various things and I didn't want to do anything to risk not being able to acquire this G. If I had a photo, however, you would be able to see that this G was completely covered by dewberry vines. The wheels were not even visible! The first thing I did was move some vines to look at the I.D. tag. Its serial number showed #1811 which told me it was a 1937 model-the first year G's were produced. It also told me it was a low serial number G-the 812th produced! (All G lovers know the first G produced was#1000). I then tore away a few vines from a rear wheel and saw that it had factory round spoke wheels. Later, after we pulled it out of the vine pile, I could see it had front factory round spoke wheels also and all wheels were in good condition. The engine was stuck but that wasn't surprising. We messed up the home of two six-foot king snakes which had been living in a rotted rear tire. One made it out, the other was killed by the rear wheel when we rolled the engine out of the vine pile.
Now, if you've ever had 'collector's fever,' you know how hard it is to keep your hands off something you've wanted so long. I just couldn't wait to get the cylinder head off and look at the rain soaked, rusted cylinders. They did have plenty of rust and the pistons were stuck real good. While I was having the valves ground, I worked at removing the stuck pistons until they gave up and came out. (Everybody ought to have the opportunity to do this at least once!) After refurbishing the cylinder walls, I installed new rings and completed putting everything back together and bingo! Does it sound beautiful to my ears!
I have not applied new paint. I might get around to that someday. You know, I kinda like the way my old tractors look with rust or faded paint. It reminds me
of the 'good ole days' back on the farm where all things were not shiny and new looking. (The children of today, and the future, need to realize this about our past too.)
I was able to get the old G back into running condition just prior to our annual Texas Early Day Tractor and Engine Association Show which was held October 7 and 8, 1989. I took it to the annual show and entered it in our antique/classic tractor pull contest, of which I am chairman. The 'Big Brother G' ran and pulled well. It was a pleasure to drive it down the track, just as it was a pleasure to drive its cousins down the track-my 1929 and 1935 John Deere D's which I had also taken to the show. It is truly a great feeling to peel the rust out of the innards of something like this old G and 'bring it roaring back to life again!'