My Promise

A Promise Made is a Promise Kept as a Rare Fordson-based Trackson Crawler Returns to the Field


| August/September 2003



Ken Dinse's Fordson Trackson

Ken Dinse's Fordson Trackson working the woods last winter. Best guess puts the Fordson base of this unit as a 1926 Model F.

On a warm summer day in mid-June 1997, my family and I stopped to visit Melvin Schultz, a retired farmer and long time friend. Melvin's wife had passed away some years earlier, but Melvin, even though he was in his late 80s, had remained on his farm, living alone.

Melvin invited us in to visit, and at some point I mentioned restoring old tractors as a hobby. With that Melvin said, 'I have an old tractor, it's a Fordson. Bought it used in 1937, used it for a few years. When I bought the SC Case in 1942 I parked the Fordson, and it hasn't been run since. It's out there on the north end of the hog barn if you want to see it.'

Fifty-five years is a long time for a tractor to sit outside, so I was only mildly interested by Melvin's remark. Even so, as we got ready to leave I told Melvin I would go take a look at his old tractor. Foraging around the barn I couldn't see any sign of a Fordson, but after pushing tall grass and brush aside I found it. I had envisioned a standard Fordson wheel tractor, but to my surprise what I found was a Fordson on tracks. I had seen a dozen or so Fordsons on tracks, most of them at tractor shows, but I had never seen one like this, looking very much like a military vehicle. Need I say that my degree of interest was changing rapidly? It was too late in the day to go back in the house and talk to Melvin about possibly buying it, and I decided that if it had been there 55 years, it would probably be there at least another week.

The next weekend I went back to see Melvin, and I bought the Fordson. I promised Melvin that when I got the Fordson running he would be one of the first to hear it run, and perhaps to put my promise to the test he reminded me he would be 88 years old the next month.

A few days later, on June 28, 1997 (the importance of this date will become obvious later), two friends went with me to help me get the Fordson. The Fordson had settled in the ground about six inches, so we jacked it up, put planks and rollers under it, winched it on the trailer and strapped it down. With a goodbye and a reminder of my promise to Melvin, we were on our way back to Green Bay, Wis., the Fordson in tow.