Is It Or Is It Not an Unstyled H?

| January/February 1991

  • Unstyled H

  • Unstyled H

3166 155th Avenue, Morley, Michigan 49336.

An UNSTYLED H? Nope! That's what I told a friend of mine, Lee Hawley, when he asked me that question. Not to my knowledge, except for the experimental model. Lee, not being I familiar with some models at that time, it was an understandable question. I have purchased several old I JD's over the years for parts and then end up putting them back together and getting them to run again. Maybe that's why I've been accused of having 'Green Blood' and my wife had to build a new pole barn. But Lee's question started my wheels turning. I turned to Lee and said, 'Wait just a minute. Drop everything!' Out behind the garage we went, where a 1939 JD H had been sitting for about a year. I had bought it for parts, but hadn't disassembled it yet, mostly because I hate to see those tractors (any make tractor) scrapped out. Although this 39 H was complete, it was rough. The engine was seized, cracked in an L shape five inches in both directions and separated 1/8', and also cracked in the combustion chamber. The sheet metal was junk, and the cam shaft was worn so badly the rockers were adjusted all the way in. After studying it over a few minutes, I said, 'I think we can do it, make an unstyled H.' A few weeks went by, but we finally got started.

First, to make spoke wheels, we took off a wheel, cut out the center, saving the hub of course. About this time Gary Hansen, another friend of mine from Greenville, Michigan, drove in. After a question or two we explained our plan. He looked things over a minute, and said, 'Sounds good. Let's build some spokes.' That was about a year ago. So, to shorten up this story, I worked off and on through the winter and most of this past summer, several times thinking it just wasn't worth it. It was just too far gone. But finally, success!

About a week before our local show at Blanchard, Michigan, I decided to put some paint on it. Not to forget the creation of the front steering post, which I cut off the top gear box and welded in a piece of well pipe. Then we made a hood, the front name plate and many other things. I don't want to leave out my dad, Marvin Richardson, who came to my rescue a few times, especially the night before the show to help me get things back together after the paint job. To sum up this story, it was worth it all, especially at the show. Every time I would look over in the tractor area, there would be several fellas standing around it, smiling and scratching their heads, knowing that there wasn't any such animal, but yet they were looking at one.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Be sure to take advantage of the Square Deal Subscription Program.

  • No Missed Issues.

  • No Renewal Notices.

  • No Additional Cost.

The Square Deal Subscription Program is designed as a paperless transaction with automatic renewals at a preferred low rate.   With advanced electronic notification, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an easy opt-out plan, the Square Deal Subscription Program is the best value, risk free, eco-friendliest way to subscribe.

Facebook YouTube