Projects To Sustain Our 'Illness'

Fordson after

Fordson after restoration.

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639 Reservoir Road Cheshire, Connecticut 06410

On these pages you'll find several photos of projects which I and my partner in a small tractor restoration business, Cliff Burrell, have completed in the last couple of years. The name of the business is The Iron Ore Company and is just an evening and weekend endeavor that makes us no money but allows us to sustain our 'illness.'

Our first project is the 1927 Fordson which I understand spent its early years moving freight cars and wagons on the docks of a Bridgeport, Connecticut company, hence the solid dual wheels in back, solid wheels in front and lack of 'water washer' or any means of air cleaner. It is the first and last piece of iron we will buy with no electric start (although I just got a John Deere BW with flywheel start). The Fordson got us rolling as iron-oholics, and I still take it out to pull a hayride a couple of times a year. Since I don't have the guts to spin the crank, and since I also own an electric motor repair business called Ludwig Electric in Middlefield, Connecticut, I made an electric gear motor arrangement to start it, and it works fine, provided you don't stall it too far from an outlet. Before and  after pics are shown at left. Muffler is, of course, our own design but the only way to keep from scaring the kids right off the haywagon.

Our next project is the 1941 Cletrac AG6. Found it in the woods in some water company property where someone stalled it, with trees growing right through it. From what we learned from the previous owner, it was used for pulling logs out of the woods. From the looks of the front bumper it ran over a few trees too! Big ol' Continental six cylinder in that baby, and our first experience with how much money you can put into an engine. Runs great though, and I pull a four gang land plow and think I could pull two if I had them. Turns on a dime with full power, unlike my dad's Caterpillar D2.

Next job was the John Deere LA we did for a friend. Neat little tractor, although we overspent his budget having to sleeve both cylinders due to rust holes. Deadend Automotive in Wallingford, Connecticut did their usual fine job of making gold out of rust.

Last year's meager profits allowed us to buy and restore the 1937 Chevy 1? ton truck you see in the picture of this year's Memorial Day parade. My dad, wife and kids are on the back there somewhere. Nice running truck and excellent restoration job but can't downshift that baby to save my life, so don't ever get stuck behind me on a hill.

Projects without pictures include a John Deere 40C crawler, two cylinder job parked in the 'finished' corner of the barn.

When my kids, Josh and Jeremy, aged seven and four, help me on my dad's farm on weekends, they are the sixth generation of fruit growers on Bishop Farms in Cheshire, Connecticut. My dad is John Mark Bishop, who has run the farm all his life. I spend a lot of time nursing his Ford 8N, International 460 and 350 diesel, Cat D2, along with my Golden Jubilee and 8N.

It's interesting to see how tractor interests differ from state to state. Learned right away you can't do tractors right without spending some money, so consequently we have to sell some of our sweat occasionally. My partner Cliff bought a beautiful 150 cfm compressor and pressure sandblaster outfit and that really helps make things easier. People always ask if this or that is for sale, and I say, 'Everything's for sale but nothing's cheap.'

Caught myself the other day following a car carrier with a big old rusty tractor that looked like it was fresh out of a swamp, steel wheels and all. I had to force myself to throw him a thumbs up and hit the gas so as not to pull over and buy the darned thing!

Let's keep this hobby clean and friendly as it is. Go easy on the shows and ribbons or trophies and keep them things farming as they were intended!