662 St. Rt. 95, Rt. 1, Loudonville, OH 44842
After having restored a good many John Deere tractors, I was looking for a John Deere GP Widetread with over-the-top steering. I knew that only 444 of these were built. I did not hold out much hope for finding one of them. We were at the Portland Gas Engine Show at Indiana in 1982 and found a good friend who was persuaded to sell us the model. In the next month we went to North Central Indiana to pick up the tractor. I had never seen it, but was told in exact detail what condition it was in, which I would describe as fair to poor. As we arrived at the beautiful farm in Indiana and found the owner, he took us out behind several buildings and said, 'There it is.' I looked at a pile of junk and could have fell over in disappointment. I had driven 300 miles for nothing! As it turned out, he was playing a joke on me. The one I was buying was around another building. At this point, I felt much better and it was exactly as described.
After loading the tractor and taking several pictures for my photo album, we started home with a John Deere G. P. Widetread prize any John Deere collector would be proud to have in the barn.
As in the past with other tractors, I had the total tractor sandblasted. This is the best way to clean up a rusty piece of iron. All the small pieces were painted a coat of primer and two coats of John Deere green. The tractor was broken apart in the middle to make painting easier. After you have cleaned and painted all the pieces, the fun begins, as reassembling is ready to start. Each piece is assembled and three coats of paint put on all bolts and nuts.
I had the tool box and radiator screen made in Iowa. The air cleaner stack and exhaust pipe and muffler were built by my friend. The fenders were made in Pennsylvania. A steering wheel was found in Iowa. The hood was rusted so bad it had small holes in it after it was sandblasted. I had a lot of body work to do on the hood before painting it. I then sent the painted hood to Iowa to have the lettering silk-screened on it to original specifications.
I started working on this tractor in October of 1982 and had most of the work done by July of 1983. At this point in time, the only thing left before finishing up was waiting on a few pieces to arrive by mail.
With this tractor, as well as several others, I have taken pictures on all stages of the restoration and show this to the many people we see in shows around Ohio. I think people really enjoy these pictures, as many people study these albums for hours over the summer.
I never had a hobby that I enjoyed as much as restoring old tractors. I have done a lot of research on every tractor I have worked on with originality being the number one priority.