Ford Model 'A' tractor found at Bear Creek auction


| May/June 1998



Tractor

Being an avid reader of Gas Engine Magazine for over ten years, I have read stories of the search for old iron, extensive restoration and final uses by others. Stories usually feature: a friend told a friend about a tractor or engine; an owner who was not ready to part with his treasure that may have been sitting outside 40 years collecting rain; old iron out in the middle of you-name-it, cow pasture, ghost town, island or swamp; years patiently soaking frozen parts, making foundry patterns, welding, brazing and tinkering until at last it runs and looks like new.

Well, my tractor story has none of the hardship elements, but I hope you find it entertaining.

The tip
The first lesson I have learned is to keep eyes and ears open while traveling, and talking to farmers, neighbors and school bus drivers. Many tips are legends, old iron long ago scrapped, buried or destroyed, but a lead sometimes ends with some treasure. Trader bulletins and county newspapers are also good sources, which I soon found out.

While digesting the paper's classified ads, my eyes fell upon an auction ad for an upcoming estate sale which included tools, Ford Model T and A and V8 motors, parts, transmissions and, as if typed in neon letters three inches high, a phrase like 'Homemade Ford Model A Tractor.' My mind's wheels started turning, and I imagined everything from a cut down Model A car built by some resourceful farmer to a pile of parts that used to be a tractor. I didn't really have a parade tractor in any condition in my collection of junk (old iron). I decided that I would go and see what the tractor was and what it brought at auction.

Auction day
I left about an hour early to scout out the auction and the mystery tractor, and drove the five miles to the auction site. Bear Fork Road turnoff was on my route from work to home, and the auction site was within sight of the main road, but I had never been far up the road or knew a tractor lurked there.

There was a small crowd, but from their talk and the people I knew, this was a tool-buying, and Model A and T car parts bunch. So much for bargains, I thought.