Good as New: 1950 John Deere Model M

Canadian teenager persists in his pursuit of restoration of a John Deere M

| November/December 1983

I guess I have liked and will like old tractors all my life. Many times I have been reminded that my first word was "tractor."

One Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1975, my Dad asked me if I wanted to go for a ride to get some geese from a friend. As we pulled into his yard I immediately noticed a tractor sitting beside a barn, with boards, gravel and rocks piled beside it. Forgetting about the geese, I went over to take a closer look. The owner noticed I was looking at it and yelled over an "AS IS" price. Looking around the yard I noticed a two-furrow plow, cultivators and a set of disc. The tractor looked as though it had been outside all the time. It hadn't run for a couple years and needed work. It had been used mostly for odd jobs. He told me that they used it to run a hammer-mill, for it did a better job than the bigger tractors would. I noticed certain items on it: truck steering wheel, big headlights (not original), angle iron seat, flat tires. It was missing half a muffler and the bottom part of the air cleaner was gone too. It sure was rough. The tractor carried serial number 40054 which showed a 1950 John Deere model "M"

Over the next couple of months I thought about the tractor a lot. Whenever the owner came to see my Dad and I would ask about the Model M, making sure it was still for sale. I decided to buy the tractor for my 13th birthday in March 1976.

By this time the disc and cultivators had been scrapped. The cultivators were the undermount type for which I'm now looking. The plow was still there which I think was sold with the tractor when new.

The owner threw a chain around the hitch and I jumped on the tractor to steer it out. Slowly the tractor rose from the ground. Meanwhile I was trying to turn the wheels but they weren't turning. It seemed that there was an awful lot of slop in the box. Too much. He stopped pulling and we took a look. The stud in the gear box which rides in the worm gear was broken. Later I found out that this was a weak point of these tractors. We pulled the tractor to one side of his yard. My Dad and I decided that I would come back later to fix the steering. Over the next few weeks I went over to the farm and worked on the tractor, getting it ready to tow home. The owner's brother helped me, which was surely needed. I got the original owner's manual minus front cover and a few pages inside. I think the tractor came from Welland, Ontario, when new.

Soon after, my Dad and I went to our local John Deere dealer for the first of many trips. I took the steering shaft to be welded and bought a few parts. I think at the time I was the only customer they had to look over the counter and down to see.


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