Eye of the Beholder

By Staff
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Charlie Drahos’ handmade engine in all its glory.
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The pre-fabbed carburetor is just waiting to be installed.
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The head and valvetrain are ready to go, too.
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Luke Cutler’s tractor is made up of no less than a 1943 3 HP FMZ, a 1947 Chevy pickup, a 1947 Jeep pickup, a New Idea manure spreader and an Allis-Chalmers combine.
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Here you can see how the tractor’s belt drive system works.
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Luke built his tractor to look old, and boy, does it!

I ran across these two beauties at the Midwest
Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in September. They are
obviously homemade machines built with pure functionality in mind,
and are two of the neatest pieces of equipment I saw at the

Drahos’ Engine

First up is Charlie Drahos’ homemade en-gine. Charlie bought the
engine as you see it at an auction held last fall near his hometown
of Ainsworth, Iowa. Since buying the engine, he hasn’t done
anything more to it due to his heavy work load. But he says all
that’s left to do is bolt on the pre-fabbed carburetor and come up
with some kind of ignition system, although the spark plug, points
and condenser are already installed. Almost everything on his
engine is handcrafted: crankshaft, connecting rod, flywheels, even
the governing system.

We’re looking forward to seeing the final product, Charlie!

Cutler’s Tractor

Now let me introduce to you Luke Cutler’s (Columbus Junction,
Iowa) pieced-together tractor. Although it looks as if it were
built many years ago (which was Luke’s goal in the first place), he
just built it in the winter of 2002-03.

The engine is a 1943 3 HP FMZ, the transmission was pulled from
a 1947 Chevy pickup, the rear end was taken out of a 1947 Jeep
pickup, and rolling stock is courtesy of a now-defunct New Idea
manure spreader.

As shown in the photos, the tractor is belt-driven, controlled
by an idler pulley and lever on the right side. A brake rotor is
mounted on the tail end of the driveshaft just in front of the
pinion, as Luke plans to install a hydraulic brake system in the
near future. But for now he just uses the friction of the idler
pulley to stop the tractor.

An old Allis-Chalmers combine gave up its right angle steering
box, and the steering wheel was found on eBay. Although Luke isn’t
exactly sure what the wheel came off of, he’s betting it used to be
an old gate valve wheel. The origin of the seat, bought at the Mt.
Pleasant swap meet a couple of years ago, is unknown. It has
“Western L. Roller Co.” stamped on it, which Luke thinks probably
stands for the Western Land Roller Co.

When asked why he built the tractor, he said, “I just wanted
something to drive around at the shows.” Little did he know how
much attention he would get while driving it. People were flocking
to him from all around just to take a few pictures of his

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