Finally He Sold His 'Z' To Me!

| August/September 1992

  • Moline Tractor
    Minneapoiis-Moline model ZTU, serial number 561246.

  • Moline Tractor

10422 Highway H, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449

This story started about six years ago. I went along with a fellow club member by the name of Wilfred Miessner, an elderly gentleman, to his farm to get some logs for a drag saw demonstration for our North Central Wisconsin Steam and Gas Engine Club Show at rural Edgar, Wisconsin. As we drove by this dilapidated overhead granary, which had partially fallen down, I spotted an old tractor inside with the granary floor on top. I asked Wilfred what kind it was, and he told me it was a 1937 'Z' Moline. When we came back from the woods with the logs, first thing we did was stop at the granary to have a look-see. After some conversation, I asked if he wanted to sell it. You know the old story, 'Someday I want to fix it.'

Over the next few years at our monthly meetings, I asked Wilfred, once in a while, if he wanted to sell the 'Z' yet, but I just got a no answer. Finally, the first meeting of the year, February, 1989 I just jokingly asked Wilfred if he wanted to sell the 'Z' yet and I'll be darned if he didn't about floor me when he said YES! I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I asked him for a price, and he told me it wouldn't be much but he did finally give me a price. I told him to consider it sold.

The first meeting of the year was on Sunday afternoon, so I told Wilfred I'd be over there Monday forenoon. I was going within a mile of his place anyway to look the situation over, for getting the tractor out from under the granary. I would need a jack, some blocking, maul, chain saw and some wrenches. A date was set to get the tractor.

The day finally came to retrieve my prize possession. The only way to get the tractor out was to take boards off the side of the old granary and cut the braces out with the chain saw. After jacking some beams up and blocking them, taking a couple bolts out to lower the steering shaft and wheel, a cultivator bracket and lever had to come off, and I was beginning to make progress. One of the beams had fallen on the gas tank and smashed it down a couple of inches. Now for some air in one front tire, the other one was already blown out, and a little in one rear tire. I didn't want to put too much air in the rear tire or I'd have to jack the beam up higher. Also the rear tires were sunken in the ground about six inches. I had to turn the front wheels at a right angle to come out the side, the only way out. I was now ready for the big pull. I had Wilfred pull it out with a bigger Moline. It wasn't easy getting those rear wheels out of the holes. The ground outside was starting to thaw and getting muddy so traction wasn't the best. We finally got the 'Z' out and pulled onto the trailer. We were still conversing about the 'Z,' and Wilfred told me the tractor had been overhauled not too long before it was parked.

Something else went wrong but I didn't remember what it was, or why he parked it. Then he said he had to get different rear rims, because they rusted out in places due to fluid from the tires, so the Moline dealer made him a deal on some used tires, rims and cast wheels.