I Never Dreamed We’d Own A Hart Parr That Evening

By Staff
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HCR 68 Box 510 Meadow, South Dakota 57644

This tractor was bought at a farm auction near Haynes, North
Dakota on October 17, 1986. When I left that morning to attend the
sale, I never dreamed that by evening we would be the owners of a
28-50 Hart Parr (even though it was all in pieces and some parts
missing, plus the transmission broken).

As the sale progressed, the radiator came up and I was the high
bidder at $18.00. Some time later, I got the carburetor for $9.00.
I thought that perhaps we could sell or trade these things for
something else that we needed. At this time, I did not realize that
the rest of the tractor was there. I possibly missed the magneto
bracket, as they sold quite a few magnetos that day. I only bought
two of them so no doubt someone else got the mag with the

After the sale had gone on for some time, I got to thinking that
if the radiator and the carburetor were there that just maybe the
rest of the tractor would possibly be on the place. I was ready to
go home, but thought first I would do some looking around. Down in
an old tree grove amidst a lot of other old machinery, I found the
remains of the old 28-50. All of the nuts and bolts were stripped
off of it, and it looked like it was beyond hope of ever running
again. At the end of the sale they sold all the old machinery and
the remains of the 28-50, which I bought for $105.00.

That night when I got home, I called my two sons who were going
to college at the University of Minnesota, and told them that I had
done something foolish, because I had bought a pile of junk that
was supposed to be a tractor. They thought it was great and in a
few days came home to help get it hauled home.

After we brought the remains home, we started piecing it
together to see what was missing. Someone had taken a sledge hammer
and broken the front out of the transmission. We were really
undecided as to what we should do with the tractor. We wondered if
we would ever find the parts we needed.

We went back to the sale site four times looking in piles of
junk and old buildings. Each time we would find more parts, plus we
found a five gallon pail with all of the nuts, bolts, fittings,
petcocks, and small miscellaneous parts. This was in an old shop
building. We found rods and main bearings in an old wooden chest,
and a new impeller for the water pump hanging on a nail in the old

After that, we started writing letters and making phone calls to
see if we would be able to find the parts we needed. It seemed each
thing we did was a dead end, as no one had any extra parts. We
really thought the situation was hopeless

Then one day we received a letter from John Tysse who lives at
Crosby, North Dakota. He had a transmission we could use. So we
went to see him and not only bought the transmission but also a
crankshaft, magneto bracket, and muffler.

After all this we were still missing the clutch pressure plates,
but were fortunate to buy an 18-36 parts tractor at an auction at
Wall, South Dakota. It had a complete clutch assembly on it. We had
the pressure plates resurfaced at our local Nappa Machine store.
This made them look like new.

Next we began the restoration, which took us about two years. We
had to do our farm and ranch work and so were not able to work on
the tractor constantly. The manifold was cracked, warped, and
broken so badly that it couldn’t be used that way. So we bought
a powder torch and my son Brian welded and built up all the flat
surface area. Then we had it planed-it turned out very nice. Also
the heads were burnt and warped where the manifold bolted on. They
were built up and planed, too. My son Bruce, who lives in Saint
Paul, Minnesota, was able to find many small items that we needed,
such as square headed bolts, stud bolts, etc. He also found the
springs to go between the rocker arms at Ziegler Caterpillar in
Minneapolis. He came home many times to help and did much of the

We advertised in GEM for the inside half of the large water
pump. Willard Olson of Kenmare, North Dakota called and said he had
what we needed, so in a few days we had that part, too.

When we were at John Tysse’s place, we met Andy Michels from
Plentywood, Montana. While visiting with him, we found out that he
had an air cleaner pipe and bracket, which he offered to sell and
send to us.

The next thing we did was have Johnson Machine in Rapid City,
South Dakota regrind the crankshaft and fit the new babbitt
bearings, which we had made at Harkins Machine Shop in Watertown,
South Dakota. The heads were rebuilt by Garman Machine of Rapid
City, South Dakota. The cylinders were real nice after honing. They
showed very little wear, and were fitted with new rings which we
bought from Joe Sykes. The oiler was completely taken apart and new
parts were bought from Madison-Kipp. The clutch plate was relined
by Economy Clutch and Brake of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A new shaft
and bushings were made for the governor housing and the new
impeller was installed in the water pump. Each part was
sandblasted, primed, and painted. After assembly, the tractor
received a complete paint job. The final finish was painting on the
stencils and installing a new oak platform. We purchased the paint
from our local Nappa store.

Craig Johnson of Rosholt, Wisconsin was very helpful in giving
advice on different things. He sent us the paint number and the
stencils. This year’s model did not use the decals.

We were able to get the tractor finished in time for the Black
Hills Steam and Gas Show in Sturgis. At this time we are still
missing the belt pulley, but we are hoping that we will be able to
find it.

This tractor is unique and quite rare, as it has solid cast iron
wheels on both the front and rear. It has serial number 70670 and
was the 169th tractor made in 1927. It is the largest Hart Parr
tractor in this series, weighing 8600 pound. It could have been
purchased for about $2,085.00 in 1927.

After visiting with the man who had the auction, I found out
that his uncle at one time lived on that farm. He had also been the
local Hart Parr dealer. He bought the 28-50 new and it never left
the farm. It was dismantled sometime in the early 1950s, and we are
the second owners.

This was a very interesting project and my sincere thanks go out
to each one who helped us in some way.

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