128 Navy Lane Atco, New Jersey 08004
How often it is that we find something really good, only to find that we're just a little too late. That's how I felt when I found an old Farmall Regular out behind a cabinetmaker's shop I was visiting. The tractor was in pretty sad shape, the gas tank was missing and who knew what else! The whole thing was rusty, though the motor turned and it was on full steel. 'Gotta have it,' I thought. When I inquired about it, the owner said he wanted to get rid of it but added, 'You're too late. I've already sold it and I'm waiting for the guy to come and get it.' So this was one that got away.
That was in 1985. I went by there about a year later and sure enough it was gone, so I forgot about it. Then in February, 1992 I was visiting a nearby farmer when I saw this iron wheeled tractor out by his shed. I asked if I could take a closer look and he said okay. I looked the tractor over and there was something vaguely familiar about it. It had no fuel tank, had full steel, was rusty, but the engine turned. Could this be the same tractor I ran across years ago?
Sure enough. Mr. Chapman, the farmer, got the tractor from the cabinetmaker. He had intended to fix it up. He said he got a fuel tank for it and even bought new decals, but never got around to restoring it.
After some time and negotiations, we made a deal and it was finally mine. To get it home I asked a neighbor to help and used his trailer. After getting the tractor home, the first thing I wanted to do was try to run it to see what I was up against. But before I could do that I found that the clutch was totally stuck. After a lot of work to get it apart, I found the reason it was stuck was because, over the many years of sitting, mice had made the clutch housing their home, totally filling it with nesting and virtually welding the whole thing together. My friend Allen Samuelsen had a good clutch and pressure plate, so that was not a problem. I rebuilt the carburetor, including making a new center tube and rigged a makeshift fuel tank. So now I hoped it would start, but found the timing was way off and the spring for starting the magneto was broken so, after it was timed, I belted it up to my Farmall C and she started right off.
It sounded great with good oil pressure. My brother-in-law Joe Sanders got the whole event on video, which encouraged me over the many months it was apart. The fuel tank I got with it turned out to be for an F-20, but with the generosity of fellow collector Joe Dunn, I not only got the right tank, but many other missing parts I needed. By April 1993 it was painted, all back together and running again.
So don't despair if you miss out on some old iron, you just might get another chance at it another time.