Tall Texas Tale OF TWO D’S

By Staff
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Mouse nest straw removed from engine block water jacket.
2 / 10
My sons, Nathan and Nicholas, on '29 'D' as we make first test drive.
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Here is the 1929 'D' as it was when I first saw it.
4 / 10
My tractor and engine 'witness' marriage of couple in background.
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Arriving at show ground with '48 IH truck, the D and one cylinder engine.
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Syrup cane press waits for mule and show to begin.
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Show time! My wife Nancy, sons Nathan and Nicholas with tractors.
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Large one cylinder engine rests as tractor parade goes by.
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Ladies serve homemade ice cream as Monitor powers ice cream freezer.
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Kansas 'D' enjoys Texas parade as we bring it through.

‘Monk’ Ivacic P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534

To make a long story short-I always wanted a John Deere
‘D’. I guess it started when I was just a kid on a small
farm driving John Deere A’s, B’s, and H’s. Down in
central Texas where I’m from, all the farms were small and I
guess you could find a big D about every 20 miles or so, back in
their prime use time. Nowadays it seems as though there’s 100
miles between each D, if you can even locate them!

About a year ago, I really got to wanting a D-an unstyled D-real

I wasn’t having much luck finding one so I also sent an ad
in to GEM, which was to be printed in approximately July 1986. In
the meantime, my wife, sons and I attended an antique engine and
tractor show at Fredericksburg, Texas. There happened to be a
gentleman there from Kansas who had a 1935 D which I bought from
him, sight unseen, after a lengthy discussion and a promise that it
would be delivered by at least October 1986.

We returned home and in a few days the GEM issue arrived that
had my ad in it stating that I was wanting an old D. I received
several letters from over the United States, most of them hundreds
of miles from me, but I received one from a gentleman about 50
miles away stating that he had a 1929 D that he might sell or
trade. We met and discussed things thoroughly for quite some time.
We finally decided that we would make the following trade. I would
trade a one cylinder, 10 HP Fairbanks-Morse engine for a
disassembled 1929 D in cardboard boxes and coffee cans and along
with it came another half of a 1929 D for parts. Included in this
‘kit’ was supposed to be enough parts to make one complete
1929 D.

I brought a pretty fair portion of this ‘1929 D Kit’
home the first weekend in August. This was exactly two months away
from our annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association
show which was to be held October 3rd and 4th, 1987, at
Speegleville, Texas. I didn’t really give much thought to
attempting an assembly of this ’29 D prior to the show,
considering the fact that I have a wife, two small sons, a job, and
other things that must come first. However, all you antique freaks
know how hard it is to keep your hands off a prized possession that
you have just obtained! Want to guess the ending to this story?
Let’s see if you’re right. I started spending those spare
minutes and somehow found hours on this ‘kit’. I started by
stripping off non-original parts such as shop made steering and
sanded all machined parts which had begun to rust real good. I then
installed clutch pulley and parts, installed front steel wheels,
looked for more parts, removed last piston, freed up rings, honed
cylinders, removed mouse nest-removed mouse nest?-yes, removed
mouse nest from engine block water-jacket, looked for more parts,
disassembled radiator, removed dirt dobber nests and a mouse nest
from radiator, rodded out ant trash from radiator core, looked for
parts, fiber glassed gas tank, had steering rods made, had valves
ground, looked for bolts and nuts, installed all original steering
parts, bought some gaskets, made some gaskets, installed pistons,
installed head, installed manifold, installed rocker-arm cover,
installed radiator, installed etc., etc., etc.!!! And you know
what? Ten days before the annual show I cranked this baby and made
a test run!  

Now, ten days doesn’t leave much time to get everything else
ready, loaded and to the show. However, my ‘ole helping
hand’, Richard Smith (Smitty), and I began to load and haul. We
finally persuaded the ’29 D to get on my 1948 International
flatbed truck after we used a big deep ditch to scare it up on
there! Then all we had to do was load a few tons of one cylinder
engine onto a trailer and hook it up to the truck. I’ll tell
you one thing for certain, I don’t think we went by a single
person on the 60 mile trip who didn’t stop and stare at this
rig until we were completely out of their sight! And oh yes, the
1935 Kansas D arrived in Texas just six days prior to the show so
we loaded it up and took it to the show also.  

The annual weekend show was a huge success with many interesting
features. There was only one wedding at the show and only one
tractor stolen-my ’35 Kansas D. Seems as though ring leader
thief Duncan Sea wright wanted to have a little fun while I went
home to get my ’55 Chevy pickup and 2 HP Monitor. The theft
ring wasn’t too hard to bust, however; they snigger too much to
hide anything and a little bird (stool pigeon) told me where they
hid it. But you know, things have a way of coming back at you. I
told Duncan to just forget about his 1914 Mogul when he walks
outside one day and can’t find

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