My Hart Parr


| August/September 1991



Oliver Hart-Parr tractor

Rt 2, Tamarack Rd. Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190

Yes, this is another tractor story. You've read this story a hundred times before. A man finds an old tractor rusting away somewhere, and after a few months, a few phone calls, and usually a few hundred dollars, he owns it. But you'll read this one too, because each restored tractor means something special to each of us. If it didn't we wouldn't spend untold hours, and untold (at least to our wives), dollars to restore a tractor just to haul it to shows on the weekends.

This tractor story started in March of 1990. I was visiting a not-so-local implement dealer for some parts, and I took my usual cruise through the back lot, and came across a line of ten old tractors. Now, I was born and raised an Oliver man, spent many hours on an 88 and 1900 GM, and recently restored a 60 RC, so I recognized the 60 and 70 Olivers right off. But what was that huge standard tread tractor with the Oliver Hart-Parr cast in the radiator top tank? As I rubbed through the grease on the identification tag on the block, the numbers 28-44 appeared. Now I know I have no excuse for this, but these numbers meant nothing to me. (Hey, it was built 24 years before I was born. Heck, my grandfather was only 30!)

So I wrote down the serial number and headed home to start my education. As my wife puts it, I spent every night in my Lazy-Boy with 'That - tractor book.' And after purchasing a few more books (you can never have too many), I learned that this hulk was a 1936 Oliver/Hart-Parr 28-44, one of only 8917 ever built. So, after several trips back, I finally owned my first 28-44. She was, as my great uncle put it, 'rough but restorable.' The engine was free, and with the exception of the one gallon starting fuel tank, all there. I took a picture of it where it sat and proceeded to load her up.

I wanted a little air in the tires for the trip home; the tire mechanic looked very skeptical and stood his distance as we tried for 10 PSI in the rears. We got an easy 20 in the fronts. As we pushed her up to the loading dock, the tire man said he thought we were about to experience tube failure. I said I wasn't concerned with the quarter sized bulge in the front tire. He said he was talking about the football sized bulge in the rear tire on the opposite side. I was very careful to stay clear of that side while chaining her down, hoping to avoid a calcium chloride shower. The front tire blew with a bang while I was in paying the bill, and the rear tire blew about five miles down the road. The rest of the trip was uneventful

I was able to work on her occasionally over the summer, enough to discover four stuck valves and a fuel tank bottom that resembled baby swiss cheese. The fuel tank was saved with solder and tank sealer, but one valve remained unyielding.