| September/October 1988

Fairmount Farms, Inc. 2200 Fairmount Road, Hampstead, Maryland 21074

I am not sure I really know what the term 'classic' means. A trip to the dictionary was only some help. When used as a noun, it means 'a work of the highest class and of acknowledged excellence.' That makes sense. But how do I relate that to tractors?

The antique auto boys use the word 'classic' for some of their models. I have some interest in antique autos, having several old cars in various conditions, from original to restored. I have a friend who is really into this car thing. Every vehicle he has must be completely restored right down to the proper bolt and screw. Of course, he has the ability (and patience) to do all this work himself. He has this 1921 Packard which he completely restored in 1984. He took it all apart and made a new part for any he could not fix. Now I ask you, does he have a 1921 Packard or a 1984 car that looks like a 1921 Packard? I said to him, 'You know, there is something to be said for a fifty or sixty-year-old car that is still in its original condition.' After a little thought he answered, 'Yes, but not much.' So you see I wasn't going to get very far with him with my theory. To further make my point, I told him about attending an antique auction recently where they were selling an axe that belonged to Abe Lincoln. 'Yes sir,' the auctioneer went on, 'this is authentic and documented as having belonged to none other than Abe Lincoln himself.' When questioned about its apparent good condition, the auctioneer replied, 'Well it has had in its lifetime three new handles and a new head.'

Since I am not really 'into' the classic auto bit, I am not sure I know exactly what makes a car a 'classic.' I think there is some committee that votes on it. I do know there are certain makes, models, or years that are classic and that is that. We in the tractor hobby don't go in for all that judging, points, national Senior and Junior annual winners, and all that stuff, and boy am I glad! It will be the ruination of our hobby if we ever start all of that because then the big bucks boys will get into it. These fellows never had the joy of operating one of these fantastic marvels of engineering while watching new earth turn over or while enjoying the smell of new-mown hay. If it happens like in autos, they will buy up the rarest pieces, over-restore them, and have a fancy auction at Las Vegas or someplace like that.

Since we have no basis for determining whether a tractor is 'classic,' I suppose we each can use our own criteria. I like it that way. To help make up my list of classic tractors, I went back to the dictionary meaning of classic: 'a work of the highest class and of acknowledged excellence.' I like that, too-it's short and to the point, but says it all. All we need to apply it to tractors are a few ground rules which, after careful study, I now present. These are my opinion only- I'm open to other suggestions.