How Do You Find a Tractor?

Maytag twin

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31502 116th Avenue S.E. Auburn, Washington 98002-3640

You just put an ad in your local paper. But let me start from the beginning. Three years ago I attended my first show, in August of 1989. After that show, I was excited and couldn't wait to get started restoring something. My father-in-law had a Maytag twin he had rescued from the dump, and with some cleaning and paint, I had it running. I was hooked!

Next came three more Maytag singles, and I was ready to take them to a show. When I arrived at the show, I began looking around, and decided that I really wanted a tractor. Knowing little about tractors, I was slow to act, and missed anything that was there.

My wife said 'Why not put an ad in the newspaper?'

'No one reads those ads,' I said.

Well, she thought she knew best and put an ad in the local paper that said: 'WANTED: SMALL TRACTOR'. We live in an area which used to be covered with lots of truck farms that are rapidly being taken over by warehouses and housing developments, so she thought there was a good chance of getting a call. The first day the ad was out, I got a call from a man who lived only three miles from me, in Kent. All he said on the phone was that he had a small Allis-Chalmers. I went right over.

When I arrived, he invited me into his home. He told me he had bought the tractor new in 1952, and used it to farm raspberries on his 10 acres. He had sold his land to a developer because of illness, and had no use for the tractor. By now, I was looking around, but there was no tractor in sight. He told me that it was an Allis-Chalmers Model 'G' and proceeded to show me the original sales brochure he had received when he was looking at the tractor new.

We finally headed outside to a shed in the back of the house. He opened the door, and there it sat. He had kept it inside since it was new. He told me that he had not run it for some time, and the clutch was stuck and the battery was dead. He hooked a charger to it and I cranked with the hand crank. It started instantly, and ran just perfectly. It was all there in perfect shape: factory hydraulics, front and rear cultivators and original rubber. He told me the price. I told him I would think about it and call the next day.

When I got home I was excited, but not knowing tractor values, I wasn't sure about the price. After looking at some ads in GEM, I realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I couldn't wait until the next day, so I called him that night and said I would take it.

Saturday morning, I rented a trailer and my dad and I headed over to pick up the Model G. When we arrived there, we went to the shed and pushed it out (the clutch was stuck) across the yard to the trailer, where we pulled it on with a come-along. I thought we were ready to go when the seller said 'There is more.'

He took us to another shed where he had a 12' plow, extra cultivators, shovels, and tool bar. He also gave me the original literature and manuals that had come with the tractor. We loaded it all on the trailer and headed home.

When we got home and started to unload the trailer, we decided to try and start the Model 'G'. It fired right up. We tried the clutch and it worked, we drove it right off the trailer. Come to find out, the original owner had lost so much weight from his illness, he didn't have the strength to push in the clutch.

I showed the tractor at two shows that summer just as I got it. I couldn't wait until winter to start restoring the Model 'G'. The tractor was only missing a couple parts, one being the muffler. I was not sure where I was going to locate the correct muffler.

Again my wife came to the rescue with the wild idea of going to an Allis-Chalmers dealer. She did, and two weeks later the parts were shipped to the house. The clutch did need some work, along with the brakes. The rear axle seals had been leaking and the brake shoes were soaked in grease. The axle housing the clutch rod goes through was so full of grease and dirt that it made the clutch almost impossible to push. Next came the cleaning and getting ready for paint.

This was my first paint job with something other than spray cans from the hardware store, but after some good coaching from the local auto paint store guys, I was ready. One Saturday morning I started painting. Halfway through the project, the spray gun broke, which made for some tense moments trying to find a new one. In the end, I was very pleased with the results.

The moral of this story is: don't ignore an idea, no matter how simple it may be, just because it came from your wife. So if you want a tractor, just put a little ad in your local paper.