Letter to the Editor

By Staff

Since we can’t vouch for the veracity of the following
prose, we pass it along without comment-other than caveat
emptor.-Editor.

Dear Editor:

Although totally unfamiliar with your publication, we write in
hopes that your readers might enjoy hearing about some tractors we
discovered in a garage just recently. (We admit to puzzlement
regarding your readership, however-GEM would seem more appropriate
to rock hounds. Perhaps you should change it to ‘Tractors and
Related Internal Combustion Kinetic Energy Machines.’ That
would be closer to the subject).

Anyway, maybe somebody will want to share information with us,
as it seems hard to come by on these particular outfits. We’ve
enclosed a few photos; if the machines turn out to be as rare as we
suspect, you’ll probably want to show them in your club paper,
or whatever it is you publish there.

The tractors are ‘as found’ in the photos. One looks
quite weathered and considerably used, while the other two are in
amazingly good condition. The fellow who owns the garage let us
dust them off and wash them up a bit for the pictures. They all
run, with more or less effort in supplying various fuels, coolants,
and lubricants. Since we’re somewhat mechanically inclined, and
the machines are so straightforward in design, we had no trouble
getting them out into the sunlight for a few trial spins around the
property.

The present owner says that as far as he knows, the machines
were always inside the garage. They were first noticed when the
original owner ran into them parking his car there. Other than
that, he couldn’t seem to tell us any more about them. (He
couldn’t seem to tell us much about anything else, either,
although he remained cordial in a confusing, crisply out-of-focus
sort of way.)

Since we know little about the subject of farm machinery, except
that some people are interested in saving antique examples, we
visited a local John Deere dealership to see what the folks there
might be able to tell us. We ended up talking to an old-timer in
the parts department who expressed an interest in seeing the
tractors and who subsequently advised us to write to you (he
subscribes to your paper, and gave us the address).

Well, we got permission to show him through the garage, and he
seemed very enthusiastic, although somewhat puzzled-said he’d
never seen the likes of them before and thought we should try to
authenticate the ‘find.’ So what follows is a condensation
of a reply to us from Dr. Thomas Phoolery, Ed. D., head researcher
at the Tractor-Related Archives, Smithsonian Historium:

‘The green one is a John Deere-/Farmall F-3-E; the red one
is a Fair-Mor/Farmall F-3-Z; and the big, rusty one is a
McCormick-Deering/Farmall F-6-M.

‘The chassis were supplied by the McCormick-Deering division
of International Harvester without engines (I assume because they
were either missing or had been freeze-cracked in so many places
they were beyond repair-the manifolds were rusted completely away,
magnetos and many other peripherals missing, and so forth. Not to
mention that the frames were undoubtedly broken, wheels rotted
through from water-filled tubes and from sitting for years rim-deep
in mud, spokes bent and broken, rims run flat and smashed square,
radiators scrapped somewhere in the distant past, brakes rusted
solid within the drums, etc.)

‘The engines were supplied by McCormick-Deering,
Fairbanks-Morse, and John Deere companies, although it’s
difficult for me to understand why they would want to have anything
to do with these tractors.

‘Then the components were apparently assembled by some
crackpots who have weird ideas about what to do with their spare
time and who either have a hard time getting a story straight or
who just enjoy a good yarn.’

Dr. Phoolery declined further comment, stating that he suspects
somebody is pulling someone’s leg somewhere, but he did say
that the outfits were probably one-of-a-kind. We feel, therefore,
that they are very rare and we’re willing to act as agents for
the owner-if someone wants to tender an offer in the high
millions.

So there you have it. We certainly hope this is just the kind of
stuff you like to print in your paper, and if you don’t want to
send us hundreds of dollars for the story, you can go ahead and
print it for free. Just don’t forget the paragraph about how we
can probably obtain these rare items for somebody who reads Gas and
Gem Magazine, or whatever you call it. Thanks.

Byron Bronk, 601 North 1300 West, Provo, Utah 84601 (who is a
writer-editor with Brigham Young University publications), and his
friends Ferry Blackburn (an ace mechanic /machinist who is
equipment maintenance technician for the BYU Spanish Fork
Agriculture Station) and Brent Burch (a graphic designer for BYU
publications) are responsible for the above bit of humor. They tell
us that these tractors actually perform very well: ‘Just to see
what it would do, Ferry put his full-size Chevy pickup in gear,
locked the parking brake, and hooked up the 3 HP John Deere rig to
it-it dragged that truck down his drive way effortlessly, retaining
nearly the same low Kit-to-miss ratio as when unloaded. We were
surprised, but we suppose the Farmall transmission/belt pulley
gearing has a lot to do with it.’ Thanks for a good laugh,
fellas.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines