Are You Guys So Talented ... or Just Plain Fast?


| March/April 1996



1940 John Deere H

1508 River Road New Hope, Pennsylvania 18938

Hardly ever does an issue of GEM go by that I am not amazed at how quickly many restoration projects are completed. The story goes something like: 'I picked up this rusty, broken, half-missing beauty in January and had it show-ready by May! Either you guys are retired, exceptionally talented, or just plain fast! All three maybe?

As for me and my 1940 John Deere H Serial #18825, let's just say we took the long way around the barn. Back in 1987 my father-in-law surprised me one day with a recent find of his that he thought would be a good first time project for me. For one hundred dollars I was the proud and happy owner of my first John Deere.

Now, we've all heard of the proverbial basket case. Well this worn out and very tired H was literally delivered in baskets, all but the frame, main case, axles and wheels, that is. I had old metal milk crates filled with broken parts, brackets, springs, pistons, valves, bearings, bolts ... you name it. Thank God almost everything was there. Now, that's the good part. The bad was that the head was broken, the block was split, the crankcase was full of mud, leaves, water, bearing pieces, maple seeds, and greasy muck. Three out of four tires were bad, the two front rims were broken, the radiator was full of mice, and well, I could go on and on.

To make a long story a little shorter, by around 1990 I had the little two banger poppin'. Oh, what sweet music! We recorded the first start up and have enjoyed this tape over and over.

We used the tractor for a couple of years to pull a small disc and a few wagons, then shut her down and got serious with the final restoration and paint job. By spring of 1995 it was time to start her up again. I remounted the magneto and carburetor and pulled her over. Only thing is, she wouldn't start. Lord, help me!