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RESTORING A JOHN DEERE GP WIDETREAD

Author Photo
By Gene P. Gregory | Jan 1, 1986

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662 St. Rt. 95, Rt. 1, Loudonville, OH 44842

After having restored a good many John Deere tractors, I was
looking for a John Deere GP Widetread with over-the-top steering. I
knew that only 444 of these were built. I did not hold out much
hope for finding one of them. We were at the Portland Gas Engine
Show at Indiana in 1982 and found a good friend who was persuaded
to sell us the model. In the next month we went to North Central
Indiana to pick up the tractor. I had never seen it, but was told
in exact detail what condition it was in, which I would describe as
fair to poor. As we arrived at the beautiful farm in Indiana and
found the owner, he took us out behind several buildings and said,
‘There it is.’ I looked at a pile of junk and could have
fell over in disappointment. I had driven 300 miles for nothing! As
it turned out, he was playing a joke on me. The one I was buying
was around another building. At this point, I felt much better and
it was exactly as described.

After loading the tractor and taking several pictures for my
photo album, we started home with a John Deere G. P. Widetread
prize any John Deere collector would be proud to have in the
barn.

As in the past with other tractors, I had the total tractor
sandblasted. This is the best way to clean up a rusty piece of
iron. All the small pieces were painted a coat of primer and two
coats of John Deere green. The tractor was broken apart in the
middle to make painting easier. After you have cleaned and painted
all the pieces, the fun begins, as reassembling is ready to start.
Each piece is assembled and three coats of paint put on all bolts
and nuts.

I had the tool box and radiator screen made in Iowa. The air
cleaner stack and exhaust pipe and muffler were built by my friend.
The fenders were made in Pennsylvania. A steering wheel was found
in Iowa. The hood was rusted so bad it had small holes in it after
it was sandblasted. I had a lot of body work to do on the hood
before painting it. I then sent the painted hood to Iowa to have
the lettering silk-screened on it to original specifications.

I started working on this tractor in October of 1982 and had
most of the work done by July of 1983. At this point in time, the
only thing left before finishing up was waiting on a few pieces to
arrive by mail.

With this tractor, as well as several others, I have taken
pictures on all stages of the restoration and show this to the many
people we see in shows around Ohio. I think people really enjoy
these pictures, as many people study these albums for hours over
the summer.

I never had a hobby that I enjoyed as much as restoring old
tractors. I have done a lot of research on every tractor I have
worked on with originality being the number one
priority.

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