Projects To Sustain Our ‘Illness’

By Staff
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Fordson 'before' restoration.
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Fordson after restoration.
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Cletrac AG 6.
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John Deere LA.
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Cletrac AG 6 after.
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Our 1937 Chevy 1 ton.

639 Reservoir Road Cheshire, Connecticut 06410

On these pages you’ll find several photos of projects which
I and my partner in a small tractor restoration business, Cliff
Burrell, have completed in the last couple of years. The name of
the business is The Iron Ore Company and is just an evening and
weekend endeavor that makes us no money but allows us to sustain
our ‘illness.’

Our first project is the 1927 Fordson which I understand spent
its early years moving freight cars and wagons on the docks of a
Bridgeport, Connecticut company, hence the solid dual wheels in
back, solid wheels in front and lack of ‘water washer’ or
any means of air cleaner. It is the first and last piece of iron we
will buy with no electric start (although I just got a John Deere
BW with flywheel start). The Fordson got us rolling as
iron-oholics, and I still take it out to pull a hayride a couple of
times a year. Since I don’t have the guts to spin the crank,
and since I also own an electric motor repair business called
Ludwig Electric in Middlefield, Connecticut, I made an electric
gear motor arrangement to start it, and it works fine, provided you
don’t stall it too far from an outlet. Before and  after
pics are shown at left. Muffler is, of course, our own design but
the only way to keep from scaring the kids right off the

Our next project is the 1941 Cletrac AG6. Found it in the woods
in some water company property where someone stalled it, with trees
growing right through it. From what we learned from the previous
owner, it was used for pulling logs out of the woods. From the
looks of the front bumper it ran over a few trees too! Big ol’
Continental six cylinder in that baby, and our first experience
with how much money you can put into an engine. Runs great though,
and I pull a four gang land plow and think I could pull two if I
had them. Turns on a dime with full power, unlike my dad’s
Caterpillar D2.

Next job was the John Deere LA we did for a friend. Neat little
tractor, although we overspent his budget having to sleeve both
cylinders due to rust holes. Deadend Automotive in Wallingford,
Connecticut did their usual fine job of making gold out of

Last year’s meager profits allowed us to buy and restore the
1937 Chevy 1? ton truck you see in the picture of this year’s
Memorial Day parade. My dad, wife and kids are on the back there
somewhere. Nice running truck and excellent restoration job but
can’t downshift that baby to save my life, so don’t ever
get stuck behind me on a hill.

Projects without pictures include a John Deere 40C crawler, two
cylinder job parked in the ‘finished’ corner of the

When my kids, Josh and Jeremy, aged seven and four, help me on
my dad’s farm on weekends, they are the sixth generation of
fruit growers on Bishop Farms in Cheshire, Connecticut. My dad is
John Mark Bishop, who has run the farm all his life. I spend a lot
of time nursing his Ford 8N, International 460 and 350 diesel, Cat
D2, along with my Golden Jubilee and 8N.

It’s interesting to see how tractor interests differ from
state to state. Learned right away you can’t do tractors right
without spending some money, so consequently we have to sell some
of our sweat occasionally. My partner Cliff bought a beautiful 150
cfm compressor and pressure sandblaster outfit and that really
helps make things easier. People always ask if this or that is for
sale, and I say, ‘Everything’s for sale but nothing’s

Caught myself the other day following a car carrier with a big
old rusty tractor that looked like it was fresh out of a swamp,
steel wheels and all. I had to force myself to throw him a thumbs
up and hit the gas so as not to pull over and buy the darned

Let’s keep this hobby clean and friendly as it is. Go easy
on the shows and ribbons or trophies and keep them things farming
as they were intended!

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