C. L. Best Tractor Company Introduced the Model 60 Crawler Tractor in 1919

| July/August 1997

  • Caterpillar Model Sixty
    William C. Wingo, 13923 State Highway 8, Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354 purchased this Caterpillar Model Sixty, serial number PA 6330, in 1968 it looks better now than it did then! For his story, Side view, shows condition before moving from Ulysses Towns
  • Caterpillar Tractor
    June 1968: Rear view of tractor with blade as found before moving.
  • Restored Caterpillar Tractor
    July 1996, after restoration.
  • Restored Caterpillar Tractor
    Another view of the completed restoration
  • Pioneer Gas Engine Show
    July 1996: At Pioneer Gas Engine Show, Sagertown, Pa.

  • Caterpillar Model Sixty
  • Caterpillar Tractor
  • Restored Caterpillar Tractor
  • Restored Caterpillar Tractor
  • Pioneer Gas Engine Show

13923 State Highway 8 Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354

The C. L. Best Tractor Company introduced the Model 60 crawler tractor in 1919. The tractor initially was equipped with a two speed transmission and was rated at a maximum drawbar pull of 11,000 pounds. By 1924 the transmission had been modified to a three speed model, its engine output increased to 72.5 horsepower and had its drawbar pull increased to 12,360 pounds. In April 1925, Best and the Holt Manufacturing Company merged to form the Caterpillar Tractor Company. The Model Sixty was continued in production after the merger nearly unchanged until 1931.

In the book Endless Tracks in the Woods, authors James A. Young and Jerry D. Budy discuss the Caterpillar Model Sixty: 'What may be the all-time classic track laying tractor was introduced in 1919. This was the Best 60.' 'It was one of those rare technologies that carried existing knowledge to a level that had not previously existed. It was a balanced tractor where power, suspension, and design blended together to produce a machine better than it should have been.' They further state, 'It was one of those uniquely balanced creations of mechanical design, where the parts fit together to produce a machine capable of accomplishing tasks far in excess of those envisioned by the designers.' 'The 60 became a legend in its own time.'

The price of the tractor in 1925 was $6,000, and by the end of production, in early 1931, the price had dropped to $4,175. The tractor was produced in both Peoria, Illinois (the 'PA' series) and in San Leandro, California (the 'A' series). Records indicate that a total of approximately 18,900 units were produced in the two manufacturing locations.

The subject of this article is Caterpillar Model Sixty serial number PA 6330. The age of this tractor has been identified as 1928,1929, and 1930 by different serial number lists. I usually identify it as a 1930, but take your choice. It belonged to a series of owners until I purchased it in 1968, in Ulysses Township, Potter County, Pennsylvania.

This tractor weighs about 21,000 pounds without any accessories. The track pads are 20 inches wide and run on a five roller platform. The track ground contact surface is 7 feet 5 inches long and produces ground pressure of 5.4 pounds per square inch. Steering is by multiple dry disc clutches and band type brakes. The engine is a four cycle, four cylinder, valve in head, in line engine with babbitt bearings and positive pressure lubrication. The engine has a bore 6.5 inches and a stroke of 8.5 inches, displaces 1128 cubic inches (18.5 liters) and develops 72.5 horsepower at 650 rpm. Oil capacity is about 4 gallons and the cooling system holds about 22 gallons. The transmission holds six gallons of 90 weight gear lubricant. Overall dimensions are: Length overall: 12' 8?', height overall: 8' 5, height to top of radiator: 6' 6', width overall: 7' 11', ground clearance: 14'.

I first saw this tractor when I was about 7 years old when it was driven to my family residence in the early 1950s to move a 75 year old horse barn. This 'bulldozer' seemed to me to be the biggest machine in the world. I was absolutely fascinated by it, and I can remember to this day the sights and sounds and even the smell of this machine.

I could not imagine at that time that I would ever own and be responsible for a complete refurbishing of this machine. This is the story of the mechanical part of the process of bringing this machine back from near destruction. The following description does not necessarily reflect the order in which the work was done, but does accurately describe what was accomplished in this project.

Many people who saw this tractor were sure that it would never move again on its own. They considered it an impossible project that would never be completed. I was known as the guy 'with the bulldozer tracks in his front yard.' I eventually moved the tracks behind the shop to keep myself convinced that progress was being made, and that I would soon be installing them on the tractor.

The decision to rebuild this machine was easy. Nothing else in the project was. Carrying the work out would spread out over 18 years.

A review of the condition of the tractor before starting is necessary in order to get an understanding of the magnitude of this project.

The radiator, which is composed of 120 copper finned tubes, was seriously damaged in a rollover, including breaking both side plates and the bottom tank. Multiple tubes were cut as the radiator pushed back into the moving fan blades. The tubes had been repaired by driving fired 30/06 rifle shell casings into the top and bottom of the tubes.

The engine had not run for many years when I purchased the tractor, but it had been covered with an oil soaked canvas and the valve trains had been packed in heavy grease. The original carburetor had been destroyed in the rollover, as had the air cleaner and all associated piping. The carburetor was replaced with one from a Buick automobile, the air cleaner by an oily rag wired in place.

All of the controls, such as for the flywheel clutch, steering clutches, and the brake pedals, had been broken off or bent and crudely been brazed, welded or wired back together. The seat bases were broken off, and the seat consisted of four broken, rusted out coil springs and two rotted planks..

The fuel tank was battered in, rusted out and leaking with the addition of a thirty caliber bullet hole two inches from the bottom.

The right track had rolled off the front idler, taking the right front top track idler with it.

The engine, while it had been running when the track came off for the last time, started with extreme difficulty, and blew smoke, oil, mouse nests, acorns, small dead animals and raw gasoline out the exhaust stack.

All of these conditions were recognized early in the restoration process. Many others were lying hidden to be discovered as the project continued.

It was clear from the beginning that this could not be a 'paint restoration' but would require a true 'off the frame' rebuild of all components (actually, the frame itself was taken off).

The short space of this article cannot begin to detail the number of different operations necessary to accomplish the total restoration of this tractor. This machine is truly a simple machine compared to any modern tractor. Until one has the opportunity or the need to completely disassemble a tractor do you have any true comprehension of the complexity of even a 'simple' machine ?

An advertisement in the nationwide construction equipment magazine Rock and Dirt, led to the discovery of an additional tractor of the same model and close to the same age, about fifty miles from home. This second tractor had been used for many years for road maintenance by a rural township in Forest County, Pennsylvania. It had been abandoned in the early 1950s and left uncovered in the woods. The radiator had been stolen and probably sold for the scrap value of the copper tubes. The engine was set up solid, and almost every moving part was rusted solid.

No paint what so ever remained on the tractor. After a lengthy process of sale by sealed bid, I purchased it and moved it home. This machine, even in its extremely poor condition, provided many parts for this project.

The purchase of an operator's manual, parts manual, and a reprint of the factory service manual was essential in the successful completion of this project. A copy of the photo archive book on the model Sixty was a valuable reference on many items that were difficult to visualize.

The reconstruction of this tractor was done in many stages, and each assembly and subassembly was dismantled and rebuilt one at a time. Not one single nut or bolt was stripped out or broken off during the rebuilding process. Major wear shows on many parts, but none appears to have failed due to inadequate design.

A total rebuild of the damaged radiator was required. Removal of 120 packing nuts from the top plate and an additional 120 from the bottom plate was the first step, followed by the careful digging out of packing material under each nut. The plates were then jacked apart, using four hydraulic jacks. Each tube was removed, tested and cleaned. Usable tubes were saved and placed on the outer rows. Plain 5/8' rigid copper pipe, cut to the correct length, was substituted for the finned tubes on the inner rows.

The top and bottom plates were placed over the 120 tubes, and after many, many, many attempts, were properly aligned and each tube was repacked, top and bottom and 240 new nuts were placed.

The radiator side panels were brazed and carefully ground to make the repairs as invisible as possible. A new radiator shroud was fabricated, to replace the remains of the existing shroud. A new bottom guard and 1 iron pipe plumbing were also installed.

The overhaul of the engine was begun by a complete tear down. The engine was covered by 65 years worth of rust, grease, and filled with pounds of acorns, nuts, mouse nests, and other creatures' homes. The engine was torn down until nothing but the crankshaft and flywheel remained attached to the engine block. The engine was steam cleaned inside and out, and components that did not have moving parts were sandblasted. After the cleaning and painting, the engine was reinstalled to the frame, and the procedures outlined in the service manual were used to line up the engine and main clutch.

The cylinders are cast separately on this engine and were removed to a diesel engine shop for boring to insure a round, vertical hole without grooves and rust pits. It proved quite difficult to locate a shop with capabilities to handle such a large bore. Most were unwilling or unable to handle any bore in excess of six inches. After careful measuring and test cuts, a bore of +.060' was required.

The pistons were removed, along with some complete and many incomplete broken rings. The top rings in cylinders number one and four were broken into pieces approximately one inch long, and had run up and down so long that they had worn to nearly a round cross section. The pistons were shipped to a shop specializing in piston resizing and the manufacturing of custom piston rings. The pistons were 'flame sprayed' to the proper oversize and ground to final tolerances, in this case .007' smaller than the bore diameter. The ring grooves were enlarged and matching custom rings were manufactured to the proper oversize, top and end clearances.

New bronze bushings for the upper ends of the connecting rods and wrist pins were manufactured at the same shop to replace the existing ones that showed extreme wear.

The crankshaft sits on three poured babbitt main bearings. Each was accessed, cleaned and polished, and sufficient shims removed to regain the required clearances (.012' maximum, .003' minimum). While this was being accomplished it was noted that the oil line to the front main bearing was broken off at the angle fitting. It is unlikely that the bearing would have lasted much longer without severe damage. Each connecting rod babbitt bearing was disassembled, cleaned, shims removed, and scraped to final clearances. Each of these bearings took over eight hours of work to bring it to an acceptable bearing surface and clearance.

The resized pistons were cleaned to insure that no material from the machining and resizing process remained. The bronze bushings were installed in the connecting rods. Each piston required the installation of five piston rings. Each ring was first inserted into the appropriate cylinder, the end gap measured, and then removed and filed to the correct end clearance (each ring, top to bottom had a different clearance). Each ring was then installed in the proper piston groove, using metal shims and great care. After the rings were all in place, the piston was oiled, and installed into the cylinder and the connecting rod attached to the crankshaft. Plastigauge and Prussian blue was used to insure that the correct clearances and bearing surface were maintained.

The manifold system consists of six castings, one control rod and control, plus bolts and nuts. The exhaust manifold and connection box were usable from one tractor and the intake manifold from the other tractor was in excellent condition. The parts were disassembled, sandblasted and shipped to a local machinist for repair of multiple cracks, surface planing to insure a flat surface, and fabricating a new control mounting. Shims were made in order to allow all of the parts to fit together. All stud bolts were removed and replaced. New gaskets were made for all surfaces. The end panels on the connector box were heavily rusted and warped from heat and from the rust. They were heated, pressed back to shape, and then built up, and then machined down to final dimensions. The mating surfaces on the connector box were machined to match the end panels. The repair on the manifold system was one of the most involved, difficult repairs in the entire project.

The oil pan, made of cast iron and weighing nearly 50 pounds, was cleaned of nearly two inches of sludge that was built up on the bottom. The oil pump was removed, cleaned and the pressure relief valve set at about halfway on its range. New gaskets were made for all sealing surfaces.

The Ensign carburetor was sent to a repair shop for a total rebuild and refurbishing. It was done expertly, with one exception, which will be detailed later in this story. Prior to shipping, a total disassembly was undertaken, and every screw, nut, washer, and part was removed, cleaned, and replaced to make the rebuilder's job simpler and quicker.

The air cleaner assembly had been replaced by the sleeve of a flannel shirt soaked with oil and wired over the air intake side of the carburetor. The tank/filter combination was rebuilt using the few remaining parts left on the spare parts tractor as patterns. This project was technically difficult due to the various requirements of size, both in diameter and length, and the orientation of intake and output connections.

A Stewart Warner vacuum tank system is used to draw fuel from the main fuel tank, store it temporarily, and then feed by gravity to the carburetor. This unit was completely disassembled, cleaned, the float sealed with gas tank sealer, all seats and valves refinished, the main tank sealed with tank sealer, and new gaskets installed. Shut off valves were installed to control the fuel flow from the vacuum system to the engine. After mounting to engine, the copper plumbing to the intake side of the manifold for the vacuum source was replaced.

A standard fuel filter and sediment bowl were installed at the base of the main fuel tank, and new 3/8' copper fuel lines were installed. The fuel lines were looped to reproduce the original installation at the factory.

The engine intake and exhaust valves (3' in diameter) were in usable condition after light bead blasting and clean up and surfacing at the machine shop. All four heads required new rocker shafts. The new rocker shafts were turned, hardened, and ground to final tolerances. One head required installation of an inserted valve seat to replace the existing cracked seat.

All mating surfaces on the engine were cleaned and prepared to accept custom made gaskets, which were made from varying thickness of base material to insure proper spacing and clearances. Head and manifold gaskets were purchased from a supplier in California. Gasket cement and 'RTV' type sealers were only used in areas that could not be sealed in any other manner.

The electric system on this tractor is extremely basic, with only four spark plug wires and the wiring for the cut off switch to the magneto. No other wiring, with the exception of the internal wiring on the magneto, exists. One magneto was tested and was found to be internally shorted and beyond repair. The other magneto was sent to a local shop that expertly repaired it internally and did an excellent job of exterior clean up. Timing of the magneto to the engine was fairly simple, with the existence of timing marks and indicator on the flywheel. It is timed so that the impulse from the magneto fires at top dead center when cranking by hand. The aluminum 'dog house' cover was cleaned and a new switch was installed.

After the machine work on the heads, cylinders, pistons, exhaust and intake manifold and connecting rods was complete, each part was bead blasted if necessary, primed and painted before reassembly. The interior of the water jackets were pressure blasted with hot water and then sandblasted in as many places as could be reached to remove rust and scale deposits. The completed heads and gaskets were loosely placed over the head studs, then the new gaskets for the exhaust and intake manifolds placed and the manifolds were installed and torqued to the specification listed. After the manifold was tightened into place the heads were then torqued to 180 foot pounds. This is the procedure specified in the Caterpillar shop manual to insure proper sealing and seating of gaskets in both of the manifolds and the heads.

The water line manifolds to the heads and cylinders were replaced, radiator hoses were replaced and packing rings were tightened on the water pump.

The main frame, equalizer bar and springs, and track frames were worked on next, and tons of material from dirt and rust to over five hundred pounds of set up asphalt paving material were removed. The two track frames, which include the five lower roller assemblies, the two top rollers and the front idlers, were removed from the main rear casting that houses the final drives, steering clutches, brakes, bevel gear, and transmission. These two pieces are joined with the equalizer bar. This assembly was hauled to a commercial sandblaster for final cleanup and priming.

The two main frames were unbolted from the transmission case and removed. It is necessary to use a slotted drive to hold the shank of the frame mounting bolts from the outside end while removing the nuts. Access to the heads is very difficult due to their location inside the transmission case, and the fact that they do not have a conventional bolt head. The frame panels were cleaned and painted as was the rear main housing prior to reinstalling the frames. Each of the six frame bolts were cleaned and sealed at the heads before replacement in order to prevent any further leakage from the transmission case.

After completion of the work on the track frames and equalizer bar, they were reinstalled on the main rear casting. These were the two heaviest pieces and the most difficult to align and bolt back together. The shop manual says that it may be necessary to weld existing holes closed and then drill new holes in order to get the frames back together. This did not prove necessary on this project, but alignment was extremely difficult.

The lower track rollers, top and front track idlers were disassembled, cleaned and lubricated. They were all in excellent condition and only show some surface pitting due to years of exposure to the weather. All were free and did not require any force to return to service.

Broken parts were repaired or replaced by substituting components from the spare tractor. Hundreds of bolts and nuts were replaced. Every nut and bolt and moving part that was replaced on this project was lubricated prior to reinstallation. Each part was scraped and sandblasted prior to being primed and painted.

The tracks from the spare machine, in addition to the top idlers and lower rollers, were nearly new when the machine was abandoned. Nearly fifty years of exposure to northwestern Pennsylvania weather was not easy on the components. The former owner told me that the tracks were extremely stiff when they were brand new, and I can assure you that they had not loosened up any in the nearly half century that they sat outside. They were loaded on my trailer and transported to a commercial sandblaster/painter for a complete clean up and priming. When I picked them up after the work was done, he told me 'Don't bring anything like that to me ever again.' Apparently it turned out to be quite a project for him.

The seat, operator controls (steering clutch controls, main hand clutch, and throttle control), operators platform, brake pedals, transmission cover, and main steering clutch/bevel gear compartment covers were removed. Gallons of water, grease, oil, rust and more small dead animals were removed from the various compartments. All linkages were rebushed, straightened and replaced. What little remained of the seat base and back rest were used to make a pattern for an upholstery shop to manufacture replacements for the originals.

While the cover was removed from the rear of the tractor, the brake shoes were removed, soaked in solvent, and cleaned up of huge amounts of grease and oil. The compartments were cleaned, and the oil lines for lubricating the steering clutch forks were replaced due to breakage.

The main clutch was removed and refurbished. The main carrier bearing was completely worn out and only a sliver of the bronze bearing material remained. The entire clutch was shipped to the machine shop for a new bearing to be manufactured. The drive disk was refaced, and lubrication channels were opened and grease cups replaced.

The full tank (75 gallon capacity) has two compartments, which allowed a dual fuel system to be utilized (gasoline or kerosene which was heated by the intake manifold and run through the carburetor and fired by spark plugs). The tank was battered in and out, leaked along the areas where it sat on the saddles, and had a thirty caliber bullet hole two inches from the bottom. Approximately two inches of rust, dried gasoline, dirt and more small dead animals were inside the tank. Several attempts to clean the tank through existing openings were unsuccessful. The tank was cut into two pieces with a Sawzall under the band that is used to anchor one end of the throttle control. This allowed unlimited access to the main fuel compartment which was shoveled and scraped out, steam cleaned, degreased and shot blasted prior to removing all dents possible. The leaks were sealed, and the tank was welded back together and ground down to original contours. Two coats of gas tank sloshing compound were applied to the inside, and small amounts of body putty were used to fill small remaining dents in the outside of the tank prior to repainting.

The only 'body panels' on this tractor were four dirt guards on the track frames, and two heavy fenders over the top rear of the tracks, attaching to the operators platform and rear main castings. The track dirt guards were purchased from a supplier, and only required sandblasting to remove mill scale prior to painting and installation.

The remnants of the fenders were disassembled, battered back to as near the original shape as possible, and carefully measured to allow reproduction of the fenders as close to original as possible. Drawings were made of the final shapes, and specifications drawn up for rolling the angle iron side rails. There are four angle iron side rails on these fenders, and each is different. They were taken to several steel fabricators, none of which were able to roll the angles in an acceptable manner.

A major steel supplier was found who was able to laser cut the flat sheet 1/8') steel into the required components and was able to roll the angles to allow further fabrication of the side members (drawings and specifications are available from me for anyone who wants to make a set of fenders for their own project). Four steps were made of the same material as the fenders to make it easier to get on and off the tractor. The components were sandblasted to remove all mill scale from the new steel, primed, and then assembled to the final product. The original fenders were all hot riveted. I substituted self-drilling fasteners for my reproductions.

Installation of all the components on the engine was completed in May of 1996. Several people had indicated that they would like to be present when it was started for the first time, but I restricted it to only one guest. First time starts can be very, very good, and they can be very, very bad. If they fit into the latter category, the smaller the crowd, the better.

After carefully preparing the engine, and making sure that everything (almost everything) was secured, and all fluid levels were full, the carburetor was primed, the intake manifold primed, everything was ready for a try at starting the engine for the first time in 20 years. The throttle control on the carburetor was set by hand as the full control system had not been connected yet. The crank consists of a steel rod 1' in diameter 3 feet long that inserts into holes machined into the flywheel. One side of the hole is rounded over to allow the starting bar to 'kick out' once the engine starts. It is a good idea to stay out of the direct 'line of fire' in case the engine should backfire and send the bar into sub-orbital flight. There are many legendary stories about the starting process for the Caterpillar Sixty.

I marked on the flywheel the two firing points for the impulse of the magneto (top dead center), so I would know where to place the bar in order to be sure to snap the engine past the firing point, and not pull it through the firing point. The size and power of an engine of this type is not to be treated lightly, as the possibility of injury is always present. While I have turned this engine over thousands of times during the rebuilding, I had never started one, and had only seen it done once.

The third pull of the bar past a firing point was met with the engine starting instantly and quickly settling down to a smooth idle. No oil smoke was coming out the exhaust, all the bearings were quiet, the oil pressure was at about 20 pounds, and everything working just the way it was designed. Almost everything, the exception being the copper radiator overflow pipe, which was not fully anchored, that came loose and fell into the gear driven fan and went for quite a ride. No injury or damage was done to anything else in the area.

Once the engine was running, the project shifted into a higher speed. A few minor adjustments were made, the valve clearances were set per the manual after an initial setting. The throttle quadrant and control cable were attached to the governor and to the carburetor.

The engine was again started after everything was hooked up. This time it was not an uneventful start. It went as planned initially, starting on the third pull of the starting bar, but this time the governor took the engine to full throttle instantly and stayed there (inside the shop) regardless of where the throttle control was placed. I was trying to hold the throttle rod closed, trying to shut off the fuel, and trying to kill the magneto all at the same time. Nothing was working. I couldn't reach the gas shut-off, couldn't reach the magneto shut-off and wouldn't let go of the throttle rod. The noise was tremendous, the exhaust smoke getting thicker (only one shop door was open) and I was expecting parts to start flying off the engine at any time. At this point I clamped my hand down over the air intake, which seemingly had enough suction to pull my whole arm into the engine, and the engine finally quit.

After the smoke cleared, and I quit shaking, I began to try and figure out why this had happened. Nothing was hooked up wrong that I could identify, and no explanation as to why the engine had run away. I checked everything, reset the governor by the shop manual. The next try at a restart was with a great deal more caution and from a different position. Again, the governor took the engine to full throttle and stayed there regardless of the throttle control position. I was ready this time with a remote shut-off for the magneto.

Several weeks of study on the governor and throttle operation did not provide an answer to this problem. It was finally solved by looking at the old Buick carburetor that was used on the tractor after the roll over. The throttle plate on the rebuilt carburetor had been replaced backwards during is rebuild and the governor was taking it to full throttle rather than to an idle. About five minutes work repositioned the throttle, and after it was installed correctly, the throttle quadrant worked as it was designed.

The tractor was still on heavy wooden blocks in the shop. The engine exhaust was plumbed to the outside and it was 'run in' for several hours. It remained quiet and tight with no knocks or bearing noise. The oil pressure was initially about 20 psi, and as the engine warmed up it dropped to about 15 psi. A small oil leak was noticed where the fan shaft left the engine. The wind generated by the fan blew the oil back onto the engine and made it look less than good. The radiator and associated plumbing were removed to allow the fan assembly to be pulled, and then the bearings and races pressed off and a solution to the oil leak problem sought. The bearing and separate races were available from a local supplier after only a three day wait. They were installed and the major portion of the oil leak controlled.

The next major test was operation of the flywheel clutch, steering clutches, transmission, and steering brakes. With the tractor still on blocks, everything was tested, with only one problem identified. The right steering clutch would not release even with hard brake application. The case was washed with kerosene and then drained and plugged, and another five gallons of kerosene was put into each steering clutch compartment and the tractor run for about 30 minutes with the clutch lever tied back. By the end of the thirty minutes both clutches were free and working as designed. The clutches were left tied back and drained overnight.

The final step was the installation of the tracks. This was quite a project for one person. As a manner of comparison, the tracks from this machine interchange with an early model D7 Caterpillar. It was necessary to use a backhoe to rotate and to put pressure on a few links while heat from a cutting torch and additional pressure was applied by a sixteen pound sledge hammer. After this loosening up, the tracks were winched onto my trailer and unloaded in the shop in front of the tractor. Using the winch on the back of my truck, one track at a time was pulled up over the sprocket, pulling the tractor forward at the same time. The track was pulled forward until it was about halfway around the front idler. A hydraulic jack and a come-a-long provided the final alignment to allow the master link pin to be driven into place. The tractor was started and eased back and the process was repeated on the other side.

The installation of the tracks was the final step which led to a first trip out of the shop and down the driveway and across the grass. It was quite a thrill to actually have the machine running and moving on its own. Everything was working the way I hoped it would. The feeling of accomplishment on reaching this stage of a monster project like this is amazing. The pressure on my lawn was intense for several weeks, but grass grows back quickly.

After a few test runs, and the identification of a few problems, the final cosmetic touches were added to the machine. Paint scrapes were touched up, bolts and nuts that needed paint were repaired, decals added and a few other surprises were repaired.

Of the many questions that I am always asked about this project, the most often asked are, 'How much money have you spent on this project?', 'Is it for sale?' and 'Did this machine ever do any real work?' I always answer by saying if I knew how much I spent on the project, I wouldn't tell anyone because they would probably send me to the local crazy house, and the second by saying 'It's not for sale, but it can be bought' and the last by showing them pictures of the tractor before starting the project.

The story is not complete without thanking William 'Bill' Ritts of Meadville, Pennsylvania, who did much of the machine work and was able to transform the information I furnished him into steel, brass and iron; Harold Seber of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, who did the extremely difficult work of rebuilding the exhaust and intake manifolds; and to Charlie Walter of Titusville, Pennsylvania, whose work on the electrical system saved the day. Many more suppliers and workers all contributed to this major undertaking.

Several people have asked me what my next project will be, and I think it may well be something like the living room couch and the remote control, or maybe something simple and light like my Cub Cadet garden tractor. Anyone who owns a tractor of this age and size knows that there will always be parts to work on, oil seals to tinker with and other 'stuff' to fix.

The tractor has been to three shows in northwest Pennsylvania and upstate New York in 1996 (Pioneer Gas Engine Show in Sager town, Pennsylvania; Portersville Steam Show in Portersville, Pennsylvania; and Western New York Gas Engine Show, in Alexander, New York), and has been a real crowd pleaser at all three. If you are at a show where it is located, be sure to stop and look it over. You are welcome to climb up on it, sit in the seat, and if you want I will show you how to start it up.

If anyone has questions, comments, or wants to talk big Caterpillar tractors, give me a call or write.


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