Rupert Walls with his Ford, summer 1997.
6485 Forsyth Drive Cumming, Georgia 30130
I am writing this to show you what my father, Rupert Walls, has been doing for the last five months.
The story starts back in February, 1997. Dad asked me if I would like to be a partner in a 1948 8N Ford he had heard about that was close by. I said yes, and on one of the coldest days of our winter (the high was about 28-30 degrees with 30 m.p.h. winds; pretty cold by Georgia standards), we set out for a neighbor's place about four miles away. Dad drove the truck that we had filled with chains and tie straps; I drove a John Deere 'B' pulling the trailer to bring home the Ford.
After talking with our neighbor, we learned that the Ford had not run in a year or two. It had been bought new by his father-in-law. My dad has memories of the man planting pine trees all over our area.
After agreeing on a fair price, we loaded the old Ford on our trailer for the trip home. It was brisk on that Deere; just like riding in a convertible!
Upon our arrival, my mother was convinced we had wasted our money. She just couldn't see beyond the rust and grease that disguised a real classic.
After about two days, Dad had gotten the tractor to crank, but it would not run very well. I got him a carb kit and, after he installed it, the tractor ran well. But the wiring was shot. Dad then rewired the entire tractor. Everything now works, even the switch on the plow light.
Next came the steering. After Dad got the tractor to run well, we found that the steering had quite a hit of play. I thought it was worn out, but Dad said, 'No problem, we'll adjust it a little and it will be fine.' I was skeptical, but as fathers do, he taught me a lesson that day. He showed me how Ford had designed the steering to be serviced to correct the problem we were having.
Then came the paint. Dad took the tractor completely apart and sandblasted it. I bought the primer and paint and we began to spray. We sprayed all the grey paint one Saturday and all the red the next. In the meantime, I bought a set of decals to complete the facelift.
Dad is retired so he filled his days with the reassembly of the Ford. It took about a month from start to finish.
By this time it was mid-June and Dad was just putting on the finishing touches. We were trying to finish in time for the parade we have on the Fourth of July in our town. It is a great parade, complete with steam engines, tractors, antique engines and cars.
On parade day, we entered both the Ford and the Deere. It was a great parade with lots of bands, floats, tractors and engines. Dad's Ford was a real hit. He was interviewed on television while-he was on the parade route. When we reached the end of the parade, Dad was asked if he would allow people to have their picture taken on the Ford.
If you are ever in Gumming, Georgia, on July Fourth, come to the parade in town. It is a pretty good bet that Dad and I will he there. It is also a good bet Dad will be riding his Ford!