Richard Gatewood of 1115 Clintonville Road, Winchester, Kentucky 40391 tells the story of restoring this Case 1937 model C. It all began at a Pumpkin Festival.
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 while.
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 sale.
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 back together.
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 motivated!
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!