I Never Dreamed We'd Own A Hart Parr That Evening

Hart Parr 28-50 Tractor

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HCR 68 Box 510 Meadow, South Dakota 57644

This tractor was bought at a farm auction near Haynes, North Dakota on October 17, 1986. When I left that morning to attend the sale, I never dreamed that by evening we would be the owners of a 28-50 Hart Parr (even though it was all in pieces and some parts missing, plus the transmission broken).

As the sale progressed, the radiator came up and I was the high bidder at $18.00. Some time later, I got the carburetor for $9.00. I thought that perhaps we could sell or trade these things for something else that we needed. At this time, I did not realize that the rest of the tractor was there. I possibly missed the magneto bracket, as they sold quite a few magnetos that day. I only bought two of them so no doubt someone else got the mag with the bracket.

After the sale had gone on for some time, I got to thinking that if the radiator and the carburetor were there that just maybe the rest of the tractor would possibly be on the place. I was ready to go home, but thought first I would do some looking around. Down in an old tree grove amidst a lot of other old machinery, I found the remains of the old 28-50. All of the nuts and bolts were stripped off of it, and it looked like it was beyond hope of ever running again. At the end of the sale they sold all the old machinery and the remains of the 28-50, which I bought for $105.00.

That night when I got home, I called my two sons who were going to college at the University of Minnesota, and told them that I had done something foolish, because I had bought a pile of junk that was supposed to be a tractor. They thought it was great and in a few days came home to help get it hauled home.

After we brought the remains home, we started piecing it together to see what was missing. Someone had taken a sledge hammer and broken the front out of the transmission. We were really undecided as to what we should do with the tractor. We wondered if we would ever find the parts we needed.

We went back to the sale site four times looking in piles of junk and old buildings. Each time we would find more parts, plus we found a five gallon pail with all of the nuts, bolts, fittings, petcocks, and small miscellaneous parts. This was in an old shop building. We found rods and main bearings in an old wooden chest, and a new impeller for the water pump hanging on a nail in the old shop.

After that, we started writing letters and making phone calls to see if we would be able to find the parts we needed. It seemed each thing we did was a dead end, as no one had any extra parts. We really thought the situation was hopeless

Then one day we received a letter from John Tysse who lives at Crosby, North Dakota. He had a transmission we could use. So we went to see him and not only bought the transmission but also a crankshaft, magneto bracket, and muffler.

After all this we were still missing the clutch pressure plates, but were fortunate to buy an 18-36 parts tractor at an auction at Wall, South Dakota. It had a complete clutch assembly on it. We had the pressure plates resurfaced at our local Nappa Machine store. This made them look like new.

Next we began the restoration, which took us about two years. We had to do our farm and ranch work and so were not able to work on the tractor constantly. The manifold was cracked, warped, and broken so badly that it couldn't be used that way. So we bought a powder torch and my son Brian welded and built up all the flat surface area. Then we had it planed-it turned out very nice. Also the heads were burnt and warped where the manifold bolted on. They were built up and planed, too. My son Bruce, who lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was able to find many small items that we needed, such as square headed bolts, stud bolts, etc. He also found the springs to go between the rocker arms at Ziegler Caterpillar in Minneapolis. He came home many times to help and did much of the painting.

We advertised in GEM for the inside half of the large water pump. Willard Olson of Kenmare, North Dakota called and said he had what we needed, so in a few days we had that part, too.

When we were at John Tysse's place, we met Andy Michels from Plentywood, Montana. While visiting with him, we found out that he had an air cleaner pipe and bracket, which he offered to sell and send to us.

The next thing we did was have Johnson Machine in Rapid City, South Dakota regrind the crankshaft and fit the new babbitt bearings, which we had made at Harkins Machine Shop in Watertown, South Dakota. The heads were rebuilt by Garman Machine of Rapid City, South Dakota. The cylinders were real nice after honing. They showed very little wear, and were fitted with new rings which we bought from Joe Sykes. The oiler was completely taken apart and new parts were bought from Madison-Kipp. The clutch plate was relined by Economy Clutch and Brake of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A new shaft and bushings were made for the governor housing and the new impeller was installed in the water pump. Each part was sandblasted, primed, and painted. After assembly, the tractor received a complete paint job. The final finish was painting on the stencils and installing a new oak platform. We purchased the paint from our local Nappa store.

Craig Johnson of Rosholt, Wisconsin was very helpful in giving advice on different things. He sent us the paint number and the stencils. This year's model did not use the decals.

We were able to get the tractor finished in time for the Black Hills Steam and Gas Show in Sturgis. At this time we are still missing the belt pulley, but we are hoping that we will be able to find it.

This tractor is unique and quite rare, as it has solid cast iron wheels on both the front and rear. It has serial number 70670 and was the 169th tractor made in 1927. It is the largest Hart Parr tractor in this series, weighing 8600 pound. It could have been purchased for about $2,085.00 in 1927.

After visiting with the man who had the auction, I found out that his uncle at one time lived on that farm. He had also been the local Hart Parr dealer. He bought the 28-50 new and it never left the farm. It was dismantled sometime in the early 1950s, and we are the second owners.

This was a very interesting project and my sincere thanks go out to each one who helped us in some way.