2461 Oak Hollow Drive, Kissimmee, Florida 34744
For the past 35-plus years, a 1937 Far-mall F-12 has stood in a machine shed in rural Lake Mills, Iowa, only to be used in the fall of the year to operate the mechanical wagon hoist and grain elevator during crop harvest. It was also used, on occasion, on the hay rope when pulling hay up into the barn. In the past few years, it has only been run on occasion to keep it in running shape.
I don't know when the F-12 was first purchased, but it was Grandpa Tostem's and passed down to my dad in the early sixties. This past summer when our family was in Iowa on vacation, my son, 13, had to drive it. He mastered the ability to crank it and start it with only a turn most of the time. After some lengthy talks and deep thought, my son Mark and I became the new owners of this F-12, with one stipulation. It should not be sold, but stay in the family.
The tractor has a single front wheel, which is listed in the original manual (which is still with the tractor), as an option. The rear tires are of the late 1930 style and may be the original ones that came from the factory. There are some changes that were made at least 30 years ago: the gas tank has been changed, the steering wheel support post was raised about 6 inches, a rubber U-joint was installed near the steering gear, and the clutch peddle was raised two inches for driver comfort. Other than these changes, the F-12 seems to be completely stock.
On the first weekend in October, with a borrowed trailer from a good friend and John Deere owner Leroy Dupree, I made a fast six-day trip from Kissimmee, Florida, to Lake Mills, Iowa1575 miles round-trip. The trip was totally uneventful both ways, two days up and two days to return home with our F-12.
Now we went into high gear to recondition and restore the tractor and be ready for a show October 29-30, in the nearby town of St. Cloud, Florida.
First came the removal of many years of old grease and dirt. First scraping and then the use of a special coil cleaning agent that removed all grease, dirt and paint that was left. After totally cleaning and doing some repairs, we were ready for a new paint job. This is where Mark got his first try at spray painting with a production type paint gun. After final assembly and the final coat of paint, we were ready for a test run.
We found that the exhaust manifold gasket leaked and that the fuel pump diaphragm was bad. Now this is only eight days before the show date. For parts like this, you can't go to the local parts store and pick them up, so I went to my latest copy of GEM. I sent an order to Kinsinger Engine Service, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, with a note that we would like the parts sent as soon as possible, because we wanted to go to the show. Mr. Kinsinger went one step above and beyond. He sent the parts second-day-air so we would be sure to get them in time. Then he sent a note apologizing for having to do this! This type of person needs an extra thank you!
With the fuel pump repaired and gasket installed, we were ready in time for our first show. Again with the borrowed trailer, we made the trip to St. Cloud, Florida, for the second annual St. Cloud Antique Tractor and Engine Show. We also entered the tractor in the 2500-3500 lb. class tractor pull. We made an admirable showing and did not come in last!
Mark and I are now looking forward to our next show in about a month. But, first we have to build a trailer for transporting the F-12 to shows.