Tall Texas Tale OF TWO D'S

Nathan and Nicholas

My sons, Nathan and Nicholas, on '29 'D' as we make first test drive.

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'Monk' Ivacic P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534

To make a long story short-I always wanted a John Deere 'D'. I guess it started when I was just a kid on a small farm driving John Deere A's, B's, and H's. Down in central Texas where I'm from, all the farms were small and I guess you could find a big D about every 20 miles or so, back in their prime use time. Nowadays it seems as though there's 100 miles between each D, if you can even locate them!

About a year ago, I really got to wanting a D-an unstyled D-real bad.

I wasn't having much luck finding one so I also sent an ad in to GEM, which was to be printed in approximately July 1986. In the meantime, my wife, sons and I attended an antique engine and tractor show at Fredericksburg, Texas. There happened to be a gentleman there from Kansas who had a 1935 D which I bought from him, sight unseen, after a lengthy discussion and a promise that it would be delivered by at least October 1986.

We returned home and in a few days the GEM issue arrived that had my ad in it stating that I was wanting an old D. I received several letters from over the United States, most of them hundreds of miles from me, but I received one from a gentleman about 50 miles away stating that he had a 1929 D that he might sell or trade. We met and discussed things thoroughly for quite some time. We finally decided that we would make the following trade. I would trade a one cylinder, 10 HP Fairbanks-Morse engine for a disassembled 1929 D in cardboard boxes and coffee cans and along with it came another half of a 1929 D for parts. Included in this 'kit' was supposed to be enough parts to make one complete 1929 D.

I brought a pretty fair portion of this '1929 D Kit' home the first weekend in August. This was exactly two months away from our annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association show which was to be held October 3rd and 4th, 1987, at Speegleville, Texas. I didn't really give much thought to attempting an assembly of this '29 D prior to the show, considering the fact that I have a wife, two small sons, a job, and other things that must come first. However, all you antique freaks know how hard it is to keep your hands off a prized possession that you have just obtained! Want to guess the ending to this story? Let's see if you're right. I started spending those spare minutes and somehow found hours on this 'kit'. I started by stripping off non-original parts such as shop made steering and sanded all machined parts which had begun to rust real good. I then installed clutch pulley and parts, installed front steel wheels, looked for more parts, removed last piston, freed up rings, honed cylinders, removed mouse nest-removed mouse nest?-yes, removed mouse nest from engine block water-jacket, looked for more parts, disassembled radiator, removed dirt dobber nests and a mouse nest from radiator, rodded out ant trash from radiator core, looked for parts, fiber glassed gas tank, had steering rods made, had valves ground, looked for bolts and nuts, installed all original steering parts, bought some gaskets, made some gaskets, installed pistons, installed head, installed manifold, installed rocker-arm cover, installed radiator, installed etc., etc., etc.!!! And you know what? Ten days before the annual show I cranked this baby and made a test run!  

Now, ten days doesn't leave much time to get everything else ready, loaded and to the show. However, my 'ole helping hand', Richard Smith (Smitty), and I began to load and haul. We finally persuaded the '29 D to get on my 1948 International flatbed truck after we used a big deep ditch to scare it up on there! Then all we had to do was load a few tons of one cylinder engine onto a trailer and hook it up to the truck. I'll tell you one thing for certain, I don't think we went by a single person on the 60 mile trip who didn't stop and stare at this rig until we were completely out of their sight! And oh yes, the 1935 Kansas D arrived in Texas just six days prior to the show so we loaded it up and took it to the show also.  

The annual weekend show was a huge success with many interesting features. There was only one wedding at the show and only one tractor stolen-my '35 Kansas D. Seems as though ring leader thief Duncan Sea wright wanted to have a little fun while I went home to get my '55 Chevy pickup and 2 HP Monitor. The theft ring wasn't too hard to bust, however; they snigger too much to hide anything and a little bird (stool pigeon) told me where they hid it. But you know, things have a way of coming back at you. I told Duncan to just forget about his 1914 Mogul when he walks outside one day and can't find