6750 Rattalee Lake Road, Clarkston, Michigan 48016
As a collector of un styled Model L John Deere tractors, I try
to follow any and all leads concerning the little critters. Even if
they aren’t for sale, it’s fun to take pictures and talk
with the owners about their experiences with their tractors.
Several years ago, I was tracking down a tip that someone had
seen a small green tractor near Lapeer, Michigan. When I found the
place, the person that owned the tractor was happy to show me the
tractor and talk about it. When I asked where he’d gotten the
tractor, he smiled and said, ‘Well, it’s kind of a long
story.’ It didn’t take much encouragement for him to tell
how he happened to be at the John Deere dealer when the tractor
came in. It was the first Model L in Lapeer County and all the
farmers were looking at it wondering the same things you and I
wonder when we see something new or different.
The owner of the tractor was just a boy at the time, but he
dreamed about that little tractor and thought of all kinds of ways
that he could get his dad to buy it.
His opportunity came soon enough. His dad was going away for the
whole day and he instructed the boy to hitch up the team of horses
and plow half the small field just south of the barn. As soon as
the dad was out of sight, the boy harnessed up the team, trotted
them into town and traded for the tractor he had dreamed about.
When his dad got home that night, the whole field was plowed and
worked ready for planting. The dad was furious and accused the kid.
of trying to kill his prize team by working them so hard. The boy
assured his dad that the horses didn’t even work up a sweat and
then he showed him the Model L John Deere and broke the news that
the team had been traded in and were gone. He told me that his dad
lived to be 92 years old and never forgave him for what he had
done, but he knew his dad appreciated the tractor, because it made
life so much easier.
When the tractor was sold at auction, I attempted to tell the
new owner that this was a special tractor, but he just walked away.
I hadn’t realized that the previous owner had witnessed the
conversation, and he called me over and handed me the original
owners manual and two extra carburetors saying he would rather see
me have them than the guy who walked away.
Every once in a while when I’m plowing or cultivating with
one of my L’s, I think about the kid in Lapeer County who
plowed and worked the whole field before his father came home,
because it was his dream and somehow he knew there had to be a
better way. I’ve never plowed with a team of horses, but I
gotta believe the Model L John Deere is a better way.