1115 Clintonville Road, Winchester, Kentucky 4039
It was 1987, and my friend Ted and I were making plans to get
together for the Pumpkin Festival. Ted happened to mention that he
knew of someone who had some tractors for sale. He didn’t know
exactly how many, and he could remember the guy’s name but not
his telephone number. We tried to find the number, but it
wasn’t listed. We put it on the back burner for a little
Next time I got with Ted to talk, he had found the number,
talked with the guy, and arranged for him to meet with me at the
Pumpkin Festival and talk about the old tractors he had for
The day of the Festival came, and we set up our booths. At about
11:00, the guy showed up to take me to see the tractors. His place
was fifteen or twenty miles out in the country, and sure enough, he
had three tractors and an old stationary hay baler for sale. One of
the tractors was a 1939 F-14 Farmall with steel on the rear and
rubber on the front. Another was an old Massey Harris, I believe it
to be a 20, but I’m not sure about that because it’s in
pretty rough condition. And the third was a 1937 Case model C,
rubber all the way around. The Case was in pretty good shape
bodywise, but was all rusty, ’cause it hadn’t been cleaned
in probably 8-10 years.
All three tractors had stuck engines, and the old hay baler was
missing its engine, an old International, which had been taken off
somewhere along the way.
We talked for awhile, and we came to an agreement about price,
and I bought all three tractors and the hay baler.
Next, the problem of getting them home! About a week went by,
and I called my uncle, John Setterwhite, who usually helps me get
around with all this stuff. We got his 4-wheel drive truck and a
big flatbed trailer and off we went to move the tractors.
We decided the Case was going to be heavy, so we’d move it
by itself. The flat tires didn’t make our job any easier. We
tried to pump one of them up, but after about five minutes it just
blew out-sounded like a shotgun going off! We managed to get it
loaded anyway, flat tires and all. We ended up making three trips,
but it didn’t take all day.
This was in the fall of 1987. The tractors sat for awhile, but
the more I looked at that little Case, the more I liked it.
In the spring of 1988, I decided, I’ll see if I can get that
thing going. So, I pulled the hood off, and then I pulled the head
off. It was pretty stuck; down inside the pistons were some little
acorns where some mice had crawled into the intake manifold. The
air cleaner had a big mouse nest in the bottom of it all full of
acorns and grass and other kinds of garbage and junk. I blew all
this out, cleaned up the pistons out at the top, got me a big open
block and set them on top of it. Two good whacks and the sucker
came loose. Cylinders checked good. Main and rod bearings all
checked good in it. Drained the oil out and washed it out with
kerosene real good.
The head was another matter. It was a disaster area. It had
already been worn out when the tractor had gone out of use, and had
needed a valve job at that time. Sitting with the valves open in
water and moisture, they were in even worse shape. I took it to a
local shop and they gave me an estimate on doing the head, which
included replacing seven of the eight valves, six seats, and a lot
of money. But, I decided the tractor was worth it, so I went ahead
and got it done and done good. The guy also got me a head gasket
set to go on it. Took the unit out, got it back home, put it all
The carburetor was missing. After searching around a lot of
places listed in GEM, I found one. The prices vary quite a lot, but
Otto Gas Engine Company out of Maryland gave me the best deal on
it. He sent me a carburetor, a kit to rebuild it, and a set of
decals. I rebuilt the carburetor, took the magneto off, checked it
out-the magneto was hot! Lucked out on one of them!
I put it all back together, put a little gas in it, belted it up
to my tractor by the belt pulleys, gave it a spin, and away she
went, purring like a little kitten. Ran really great. Now I was
I stripped the tractor all down, sandblasted it real good,
primered it up, put it all back together, bought four new tires for
it, got the paint from the Case Company, which still makes the LC
gray paint-you have to buy it in quarts, and it takes a little
while because you have to special order it.
A local Case dealer, Stevens Farm Tractors, also has an old C
outside their shed, and Stevens was real helpful with parts and
information on how things went back together.
I bought four new tires for her, painted her up, and she came
out looking pretty good. Now it’s time to take her to the
shows. First one I took her to was the Central Kentucky Steam and
Gas Engine Show in Paris, Kentucky. Had quite a few comments on the
tractor, and I’m very pleased with the way it came out!