Something Was Missing, So I Built It!

Fairbanks-Morse Z

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608 S. Fulton, Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

I've always had a fascination for old engines but I never had one 'til I got a Fairbanks-Morse Z, 1? HP, a couple of years ago. I restored the engine and constructed a beautiful oak frame, nicely varnished, for it to rest on.

I showed it a couple of times, but there was always something missing. The engine ran perfectly, but it had to do something.

I decided to give it a job, by constructing a tractor. I rounded up a few parts from old scrapped lawn tractors, bought some steel to fabricate a frame, rigged up a couple of belts over a jackshaft and voila! A small tractor emerged that has been a source for interesting conversation.

Granted, it is not going to win any tractor pulls, but I've not yet come close to killing the engine anywhere it has been driven.

My tractor uses an old Toro lawn tractor transaxle that is cast iron, heavy and tough. The rear wheels are from a Studebaker pickup (6.00x16). The spokes were cut from plywood and look very much like castings. The radiator is, of course, a fake. The core is an old scrapped radiator cut to size and fitted into a wooden jacket which again appears as a casting. An old John Deere cast iron seat and a pair of trailer fenders pretty well completed this exact scale model of what could have been a Farmall.

So, finally the old F-M Z has something to do, and provides fun for Gramps, the little kids, and everybody in between.

Its transporter is a '51 Studebaker truck. Arrival at a show draws a crowd every time.