9145 Oberon Road #203, Arvada, Colorado 8004
About the time I retired in 1975, I ran across a couple of
gasoline engines that started me on the road to collecting these
antiques. Among the engines I had was a Fairbanks Morse 3 HP type
Z. I decided that I would build a replica of an old tractor, using
the Fairbanks Morse engine for the power.
I made some free-hand sketches of what I wanted it to look like.
First, it would have to have iron wheels. Antique tractors did not
run on rubber tires, and furthermore I was not going to use a frame
from some other vehicle.
I drew to scale a general arrangement drawing, locating all of
the parts I wanted on it.
I used a transmission from a Ford pickup truck that sits
parallel to the crankshaft of the engine that is belt driven on the
input side from the pulley on the engine. The pulley on the
transmission had a brake drum that acts as a clutch, that can be
operated by a foot pedal or a hand lever. On the output side of the
transmission is a roller chain drive to a ten-to-one right angle
speed reducer. A short drive shaft connects the speed reducer to
the rear axle from a Toyota car, and roller chain drive to the rear
wheels. The rear wheels are each on a stub shaft that is welded to
the frame, as the floor of the cab is 10′ above the ground.
The frame and all of the cross-members are of 3′ channel. I
made detailed drawings of all the frame members locating all holes
and had these fabricated in a steel shop. I also made detailed
drawings of all the linkage systems for belt tight enters for main
drive, water pump, brake, clutch and gear shift levers.
All of the wheels, pulleys, sprockets, chains, etc. came from
After I had all of the parts made and collected, I started to
put it together. I had no problems and all of the pieces fit really
This tractor has three speeds forward and a reverse. The top
speed is about 6 miles per hour.
I designed my own gear shift levers by using two levers, one for
reverse and first and the other for second and third. These levers
work in an ‘H’ pattern plate. When one is in use the other
lever is locked into the center of the ‘H’ and cannot be
moved into gear.
Just as an extra feature, I added a water tank above the engine
that has a sight glass gauge. I used a water pump from a washing
machine to circulate the water, taking water from the bottom of the
hopper and pumping it into the tank above. The water flows by
gravity back into the hopper. By use of valves I can control the
amount of water being circulated.
I entered my first parade in July of 1978 and won a trophy. In
October of that year I had a five minute showing on a TV station in
Denver. They came to my place and interviewed me and took pictures
for about an hour and a half to make up the five minute show that
was shown twice in one day.
I have been in parades each year since 1978. Everyone on the
parade route that has a camera takes a picture of the tractor. It
sure has created a lot of excitement and comment!