Big DreamSmall Tractor

Content Tools

6750 Rattalee Lake Road, Clarkston, Michigan 48016

As a collector of un styled Model L John Deere tractors, I try to follow any and all leads concerning the little critters. Even if they aren't for sale, it's fun to take pictures and talk with the owners about their experiences with their tractors.

Several years ago, I was tracking down a tip that someone had seen a small green tractor near Lapeer, Michigan. When I found the place, the person that owned the tractor was happy to show me the tractor and talk about it. When I asked where he'd gotten the tractor, he smiled and said, 'Well, it's kind of a long story.' It didn't take much encouragement for him to tell how he happened to be at the John Deere dealer when the tractor came in. It was the first Model L in Lapeer County and all the farmers were looking at it wondering the same things you and I wonder when we see something new or different.

The owner of the tractor was just a boy at the time, but he dreamed about that little tractor and thought of all kinds of ways that he could get his dad to buy it.

His opportunity came soon enough. His dad was going away for the whole day and he instructed the boy to hitch up the team of horses and plow half the small field just south of the barn. As soon as the dad was out of sight, the boy harnessed up the team, trotted them into town and traded for the tractor he had dreamed about. When his dad got home that night, the whole field was plowed and worked ready for planting. The dad was furious and accused the kid. of trying to kill his prize team by working them so hard. The boy assured his dad that the horses didn't even work up a sweat and then he showed him the Model L John Deere and broke the news that the team had been traded in and were gone. He told me that his dad lived to be 92 years old and never forgave him for what he had done, but he knew his dad appreciated the tractor, because it made life so much easier.

When the tractor was sold at auction, I attempted to tell the new owner that this was a special tractor, but he just walked away. I hadn't realized that the previous owner had witnessed the conversation, and he called me over and handed me the original owners manual and two extra carburetors saying he would rather see me have them than the guy who walked away.

Every once in a while when I'm plowing or cultivating with one of my L's, I think about the kid in Lapeer County who plowed and worked the whole field before his father came home, because it was his dream and somehow he knew there had to be a better way. I've never plowed with a team of horses, but I gotta believe the Model L John Deere is a better way.