Cockshutt Tractor

| May/June 1989

  • E3 Co-op tractor

  • E3 Co-op tractor

1706 24th St., Central City, Nebraska 68826

In mid-October 1987, my son Jeff and I were on our way to southeast Kansas to pick up a load of starting fluid for our parts store. On the way home we ran the back roads to look for old tractors. We have discovered that you can find a lot of old tractors and engines in the small towns if you just take the time to cruise the back streets, etc. One town, in particular, caught our eye as we were rubbernecking around. I spotted what looked like a lot about two blocks west of the highway that was full of tractors. Coming to a very abrupt halt we decided to go back and check this out, as it was soon going to be dark.

When we arrived at the lot we could see that most of these tractors were what we call 'users' and were probably not for sale. An E3 Co-op tractor caught Jeff's eye and he said we should check this out. Across the street a lady was doing yard work, so we went to ask if she knew who owned the tractors on the lot. 'Yes, they belong to my husband. He is around the other side of the house.' We thanked her and around the house we went, Jeff in the lead. The man (we'll call him Frank) was digging up fall bulbs. Needless to say, he was a lot more enthused about talking tractors than digging bulbs. The E3 was not for sale but 'did you see the one back in the trees that I was using for parts? I might consider selling that one.' Jeff was already headed back across the street to check this out. Well, there was one there all right, or let's say, most of one. I walked around the pile and shook my head. I walked around in the trees to see if there was anything else interesting laying there. Nope.

By the time I got back to the tractor, Jeff was in the middle of deep negotiations. I saw him get out his billfold and money was being counted out. He had bought the front half of this Cockshutt 30 and the rear wheels, tires and fenders. 'What do you think? Did I fall on my head or not?' Well, the tires were in pretty decent shape on the back. The grille and tin work were excellent and it did have an arched non-adjustable wide front. Jeff quickly took the grille shells and center name strip off to take them home with us. We had put 110 cases of starting fluid in our El Camino so we didn't have any extra room.

I don't mean to sound skeptical of this purchase. I have made a lot of impulse buys myself but Jeff had been working on a Minneapolis Moline RTI. This little tractor had dealt both of us lots of frustration. He finally sold it to a fellow who wanted to finish it for the '88 Camp Creek Threshers Show. Minnie was to be their feature line in 1988. I was hoping that this tractor was not going to end up the same way. I have restored several tractors of my own and some for other folks. Jeff said he wanted one of his own, that he bought and paid for all the parts himself, and did all the work also. He has been restoring Briggs & Stratton engines for several years. He does an excellent job of this but this tractor was a whole different ballgame.

On the way home the subject was Cockshutts, of course. I had owned several of these tractors in the past when we lived in Iowa. We came to the same conclusion, that we had never seen a Cockshutt tractor really restored the way it should be. Jeff said, 'I believe I'll take this tractor and really put the whammy on it. We need something different at these shows besides all the green and yellow.'

4/8/2010 9:29:49 AM

I have to admit that I ran into your article purely by accident. I had never heard about a Cockshutt until this morning and was intrigued, due to its funny name. I was looking at images on the web when your sons popped up. It looked nice, but I wanted to see more so I hit the link and found your story. Having spent a little time on a ranch in Montana and worked a little on our tractor and other desiel projects when I was your son's age, I can picture the entire scenerio. It was a very entertainig story and it seems a lot was learned along the way. The education your son takes away from all of this will last a lifetime. Good form and NICE TRACTOR!!!


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