Cockshutt Restoration


Dru Gilliland and his 1955 Cockshutt 50, #13037. Purchased in November 1986, it was ready to pull by July 1987.

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9840 Hines Road Waynesville, Ohio 45068

For the last few years I have been interested in and have collected and restored several old tractors. I have also attended and participated in several shows and antique tractor pulls. Recently several members of our club have built tractors to pull in the 1955 and older open antique class. Liking these, I decided to acquire one for myself.

First I had to decide what kind of tractor to purchase and build. Several pullers in the area were running 88 Olivers and as an Oliver collector I considered one of these. Then I thought it would be nice to have something different. I remembered that the Cockshutt tractors with the Buda engines (the 40 and 50 series) had 6 cylinder engines with 7 main bearings. Also that a few years ago a lot of pullers ran these in the super stock classes.

Deciding what I wanted, the next thing was to find one. After several months of searching I got a lead on a 50 Cockshutt near Bellfontaine, Ohio. After contacting the owner Glen Rutan, I drove up to look at it. The tractor was in good shape, but there was just one problem-the engine was in pieces. It was removed from the tractor and completely disassembled. There it was, the bare block, crankshaft, rods, cam, etc. I looked at Glen and said, 'Well, at least it isn't stuck.' Glen laughed and said, 'That's as far as I got on it and quit.' He said it was all there and the block had been bored 30 over. We agreed on a price, and I told him I would pick it up soon after harvest.

In November a friend and I drove up and loaded the tractor along with the pieces. After the trip home we started unloading the tractor and boxes of parts. My wife Judie came out to see our latest find and made some comment about another pile of trash going into the shop and shook her head.

After having the head remanufactured, the rods reconditioned, the whole assembly balanced, and acquiring a gasket kit, we ran into a problem. It seemed that nobody could get pistons for the 6b-273 Buda engine. After a lot of phone calls, we finally found a company in California who made aluminum pistons for it and ordered a set. With these received, we started rebuilding the engine. The head was milled, ported, and flowed, by friend Bruce Lindamood, and the cam reprofiled.

We were then ready to drop the engine in. With a new pressure plate installed and ridged, clutch disk, and the frame painted, everything went together easily. The sheet metal was sandblasted, primed, and painted, as were the wheels, and the rest of the tractor. We then assembled the sheet metal, installed new gauges, wiring, and put on new decals. We replaced the original carburetor with one from a John Deere 4020 and were ready to start the tractor. After getting it running and making weight brackets we were ready for our first pull at the Warren County Fair (we finished it the day before).

It took approximately 8 months of spare time to restore and build this tractor. I would never have completed it without the help of friends, and my wife's patience. We have had a lot of fun at the pulls and shows, met a lot of nice people, and have received help and advice on ways to improve my tractor. If there are other folks out there involved in this aspect of old tractors, please write. I would enjoy hearing from you.