R#1, Box 55 New London, MO 63459
After reading Smoke Rings and then some of the stories in the July-August 1983 GEM, I started to skim the ads. Whoa! Right there in the middle of page 57 1 did a double 'RI Case (rare),..... Bill Harper.' Having already restored a 1936 Case 'RC', a 1936 Case 'CC', a 1937 Case 'C', and a 1937 Case 'L', all on factory rubber with cast iron wheels, I was looking and hoping for a model 'R'.
The 'R' is the little brother to the 'L' and 'C' standard tread or wheat land models. The 'RI' is the industrial version. The main differences between the 'RI' and 'R' are:
Hand throttle hand &
has belt pulley throttle
hand clutch no belt pulley
parking brake foot clutch
and clutch brake drum brakes in
only rear wheels
After several attempts, I finally made contact with Mr. Harper, who informed me he still had the tractor at a friend's farm near Truro, Iowa. Early Saturday morning my three younger boys and I drove over 200 miles to Truro to Mr. Bill Evison's farm. He took us over the hill, behind the barn, and there it was! Talk about Jacob's 'coat of many colors.' There was red, yellow, orange, and gray paint besides some rust on the little tractor. The tires were rotted off, the precleaner was gone, and the engine was stuck. The fenders were mangled, the steering wheel was falling apart, and the PTO had been torched off. Of course, there was no battery and the bottom of the radiator tank was cracked. Anybody with normal mentality would say 'scrap it' or 'melt it down and make two or three new cars out of that iron,' but the 'old iron bug bitten' thought 'beautiful, it is almost all there, just needs a little T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care).'
Back home to talk to the banker. He was agreeable (I didn't show him any pictures).
Then home to convince the wife that it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
The purchase was made and then we waited until vacation to go after it. We took the 'L' to Midwest Old Threshers at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and then went after the 'RI'.
We camped in an Iowa state park that night and arrived in Truro before daylight in a heavy rainstorm. At daylight we made our way through the country to Mr. Evison's farm. He and his wife invited us in for breakfast which sure was good after the rainy trip.
I should mention that, on the first trip to see the tractor, we found out that Mr. Evison is also an engine nut. He showed us several of his restored tractors and engines and a truck he was working on.
After breakfast the rain let up enough for us to load the 'RI' with a big help from Bill's Farmall with a big bale mover on the 3 point hitch. Going back to Mt. Pleasant we got some strange looks and some head shakes which were prophetic of the reactions at Mt. Pleasant.
It was still preparation days when we got back to 'Midwest Old Threshers.' I parked the outfit and went to talk to Mr. Gus Ward who heads up the tractor area, for permission to show my unrestored tractor right on the trailer. Some fella walked up to the van and asked my wife, 'where is he and what is he going to do with that!?'
Well, permission was granted and we parked the trailer with the 'RI' right next to the restored 'L'. It was fun to stand in the background and listen to some of the comments. It was amazing that the unrestored tractor drew more attention than most of the beautiful running models.
After getting the tractor home we tore it down, stripped it of old paint, wire brushed it, primed it and gave the separate pieces a coat of gray paint. Then I overhauled the engine, put it all back together, and painted it with another coat of gray.
It's amazing how you can put weeks of hard work into two sentences. The fenders alone took over a week of pounding, welding, filling, and sanding.
A set of old tires were put on it for now. The day finally came when everything was ready to start it. What a good feeling when it fired off! A final touch up on the the paint, lettering, striping the fenders, and then putting on the decals from Jack Maple and it is ready to take to 'show and tell.'