It Deserved A Better Life!

1927 McCormick-Deering Tractor

Content Tools

10003 RD.X37 Wapello, Iowa 52653

It was just after World War II and Dad needed a tractor to power the blower to fill his silo. Farm machinery was still scarce, and he bought a used 1927 McCormick-Deering 10-20. It was on rubber, had a gas manifold and a cylinder head from an F-30 Farmall. It had an old coat of red paint and looked rough, but it ran well. It was kept in use until 1957.

Dad passed on and the old tractor stood idle in my shed for thirty-five years. A few years ago I decided that it deserved a better life. So, with putty knife and wire brush I started to remove the many years' accumulation of grease and grime.

The engine was free, but time had taken its toll. The tires were bad, a rear rim had rusted through, and there was a crack in the manifold. A mouse had discovered that the radiator cap was loose and had filled the water jacket with hickory nuts.

With the help of retired mechanic L. W. Leonhard, the engine was overhauled. I got a better fan assembly from Ken Dinse at Green Bay. Jerry Gast, a local machinist, repaired the manifold. My want-ad for side curtains was answered by a man only sixty miles away. With a new rim, four new tires, many small repairs and replacements, it was ready to go to our local body shop for sheet metal work and sandblasting.

The old tractor had been repainted a few times over the years. Certainly the coat of red paint was not the correct color. Some hidden crevices revealed that the original paint was a dull shade of green instead of the usual gray. Some of my collector friends confirm that a very few 10-20s, probably only one or two percent, were factory painted a drab green.

We shipped the tractor parts that still retained a trace of the original paint to an automobile paint supplier in Davenport, Iowa. They used some type of scanner camera and computer equipment to produce a paint formula that would match the original color. The paint was dry just in time for me to drive the tractor in our local Pioneer Days parade celebrating Iowa's Sesquicentennial in June 1996.

The tractor has been in my family for fifty years. The fact that some of its features are not original does not detract from our enjoyment of it, and although the color it is painted is a bit unusual, we think it is quite attractive.