Gas Engine Magazine

Old Number Three

Box 63, Chilhowee, MO

Did you attend the Jack Walter sale in Carey, Ohio on January
31, 1987? There were some nice items, one quite extraordinary.

It is about 700 miles to Carey from Chilhowee, Missouri. . .a
long drive in a small car with only a few 15 or 20 minute rest
periods. Sunny and warm was the rule when we left about 3:00 P.M.
Friday afternoon, but as we travelled I-70 East through Illinois
and Indiana, the afternoon sun, then evening stars, became
overcast, dark solemn night skies. Two or three inches of snow on
the ground, and freezing temperatures greeted us at the sale site
at Carey. As the first ones there, at 8:30 Saturday morning, we
looked over the sale items, putting on our insulated coveralls only
after getting chilled to the bone.

Although the sale ad in G.E.M. was only a half page (no
pictures), finding that many McCormick-Deering 40 horsepower items
on one sale bill was hard to believe. Two PD-40 power units (one
with vertical injectors and one with 10 degree injectors), one
ID-40 tractor (our major reason for attending the sale), 3 or 4
WD-40 tractors, as many WK-40 tractors, and a number of parts

The sale began with the miscellaneous parts and progressed
through several John Deere tractors, an Allis-Chalmers 25-40 with a
Thresherman’s Special engine, and then to the McCormick-Deering

The first McCormick-Deering to sell was a WD-40 on full steel
with extension rims. Jack said since there was no serial tag, he
figured the tractor was a 1934 from the date cast in the belly.
Whether the date was correct or not, this was definitely the oldest
40 HP tractor at the sale.

Since the ID-40 was very rough and would have required more
money to restore than we were prepared to invest, both in time and
money, we decided to bid on this tractor (which I’ll just call
‘Old #3’). When the bidding was done, ‘Old #3’ was

We then bought a 1938 W-40, serial number WKC9613PT. It was on
factory rubber with solid cast wheels and the rated engine speed
was 1975 r.p.m.

After buying a couple nice 14 x 32 tires, we bought the early
PD-40 power unit with vertical injectors. The power unit was stuck,
but both tractors were loose.

Returning home without our purchases wasn’t easy, but we had
to make arrangements to get them hauled. Obviously a Plymouth
Horizon wasn’t big enough.

Two weeks later we returned to Carey to pick up the tractors,
power unit and tires. With the help of a friend, Gary Strate of
Holden, Missouri and the use of his semi, we loaded these heavy
units in nice sunny weather, without any problems. Jack’s son,
Donnie, and a friend, used their tractor to do the loading.

Arriving home after midnight, we decided to unload the next day.
Helping with the unloading were Ed Evans, Gary Davis, Don
Daugherty, Gary Strate, Gordon Stegner and Bob Ayler. All this in
more sunny weather. We started and drove the W-40 tractor that day,
and later, started the WD-40 on gasoline.

Now all this is excitng, but not nearly so much as what
developed a couple days later. Eric was looking over ‘Old
#3’ for some evidence of a serial tag. However, no sign of
holes appeared on the right side of the firewall where he thought
the serial tag should have been attached. Perhaps it never had one.
Looking across the engine side of the firewall, Eric saw what he
thought was a rivet or screw, but on the pump side of the tractor.
There was a large oil filter mounted in front of the fierwall on a
quarter-inch thick piece of iron about eight inches square.
Feverishly Eric removed the filter and iron plate to find what
appeared to be a grease-covered serial tag. Carefully he wiped away
some of the grease. 508? 506? 503? He wiped away more grease and in
the growing darkness, his flashlight revealed the serial number on
the original serial tag… WDC503. WDC503??? Yes!!! Somewhere along
the way, the serial tag had been covered with this add-on filter,
protecting the tag and preventing anyone from knowing the true
identity of the tractor.

The engine serial number indicates that the engine itself is
very early production. Also, the tractor has no parking brake,
merely a cover where the brake would have been, possibly indicative
of its age. The casting date on the engine is 12-22-33, on the
belly of the tractor: 1-30-34.

The pictures presented here are of ‘Old #3’ and were
taken by Carol Berkland of Warrensburg Missouri. Carol is the
official photographer at the Fall Show for the Chilhowee Antique
Farm Machinery Collectors Organization, along with Merle Miller of
Holden, Missouri.

And why do we call it ‘Old #3’? Because WDC503 is the
third diesel wheel tractor ever built in the United States.

Come to our fifth annual fall show this year, held the fourth
weekend in September at the Gordon Stegner arm East of Chilhowee.
Share the excitement! We think you’ll have fun, and you can see
‘Old #3’!!!

  • Published on Oct 1, 1987
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