Don't Be Sarcastic: It Could Be The Tractor You Love!

| August/September 1992

The old Massey

Box 193 Stover, Missouri 65078

I've always had a weakness for things that other people have given up on. Here in the Midwest there seem to be quite a few old tractors in need of some attention.

About three years ago I followed a lead on a Farmall F-12 that led me to a junk dealer not far from where I live. He was real proud of the Farmall, so I passed it up. As I was leaving, a friend that had gone along for the ride spotted another old tractor and noticed that it had a six cylinder engine. Upon closer inspection, we determined that it was a Massey Harris 101 Senior. The old tractor was mostly rust and rotted rubber but we thought it had potential, so I negotiated for its purchase. I had it delivered and dumped in my driveway, and after a few days and a few sarcastic remarks from passers-by, I started to work.

My first concern was to see if it would run. After the normal process of cleaning the fuel system and points, some fresh gas and a good battery, the old Continental fired up. It didn't take long to realize that the rings were out to lunch and all of the oil seals were dried up. When the engine was taken apart, we found that the .030 over block and the other engine parts, with exception of the rings, were in pretty good shape. New rings, seals, and a valve job and the old six cylinder was running pretty good. I changed the electrical system to twelve volt and installed some new gauges. After a coat of paint and a set of decals, the old Massey started to look like it did some 42 years earlier. The sheet metal wasn't too bad except for the side curtains. Using the old ones for a pattern, I made a new pair.

The old Massey's last job was dragging cars around the salvage yard. Its life would be much easier now, at least most of the time. With spring came tractor pulling season so I decided to see if the old tractor could earn its keep. My first two experiences in local classic tractor pulling events weren't successful. My third chance came with the annual modern tractor pull in my hometown. With 300 pounds of water in each rear tire and some hitch modification by a friend who is smart about such things, we made a pretty good showing. The tractor weighed in at 4380 pounds with 600 pounds of fluid and me aboard, and turned 43 horsepower on the dyno. Against several newer tractors including a 770 Oliver, an old style 4000 Ford, and close to a dozen others, I managed a third place trophy.

In the fall, I parked the tractor in my shed to let it rest until next spring. During a winter cold spell when tractor pulls were on the back burner, and during one of my weaker moments, I sold the 101. With a lot of help from some friends and a lot of time, the old Massey was revived and has gone on to win several trophies. In the fall of 1990, I saw the tractor at the Gas and Steam Engine Show at Boonville, Missouri and I assume that it's still pulling for all it's worth! In the spring, after I sold the Massey, I was watching a tractor pull with some regret for having parted with it and decided to follow a lead on another interesting old tractor. But that's another story!