The Jump Start Tractor

By Staff
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This 1935 Farmall F-12 is owned and has been restored by Burt Richardson and Frank D. Holzschu. Holzschu's story, 'The Jump Start Tractor,' tells the tale of that restoration.
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Frank D. Holzschu driving the F-12 after parts from three tractors were assembled into one.
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Burt Richardson behind the steering wheel of the F-12 after restoration. This tractor is comparable to the one Burt drove fifty years ago.

4057 Intertown Rd. Petoskey, Michigan 49770.

Amid 1935, farming methods changed from real horse power to
tractor horsepower on a farm in Emmet County, Michigan and in 1985
a McCormick-Deering tractor brought back memories of that passage,
for Burt Richardson. At six years of age Burt was attracted to a
new tractor and could not wait to drive the new machine. This
appeal for an F-12 tractor eventually lead to the purchase and
restoration of a similar tractor fifty years later.

The farm was located in Resort Township and owned by his uncle,
whom Burt lived with at the time. The best anyone can remember, the
F-12 was delivered in the spring of the year, it was gray in color,
had red steel wheels and the breather intake protruded a good three
feet above the hood. The horse drawn equipment was modified so the
tractor could be of service and the breather was cut down, thus the
tractor could be driven into the shed.

Burt is not certain when he first started driving. Regardless of
age he was not big enough to rotate the crank to start the tractor
and someone else would start it for him. One afternoon while
disking a field bordering a fence line he collided with a fence
post and the tractor conked out. Burt, being an ingenious young man
engaged the crank in a horizontal position, climbed upon the
tractor frame next to the radiator and jumped on the crank. The
tractor started and from that day on, the starting restraint no
longer applied.

Five decades later Burt came across a 1935 McCormick-Deering
F-12. He told me he would buy it if I would restore it. The next
thing I knew we were the proud owners of a tractor that didn’t
look too bad on the outside. The internal workings were a different
story. We found rust on the inside of the oil pan after the oil
(sludge) was removed and without going into further detail, we knew
there was a problem. Another F-12 was bought for parts and again we
found problems, but most depressing of all, we still did not have
enough good parts to build a tractor. Two years later a third F-12
was purchased and this one had a sound engine. The choice parts
from the three tractors were assembled into one. International gray
paint was applied and Burt could not wait to drive the newly
restored tractor.

A few days later the tractor was ready for a test run. I asked
Burt to reenact the jump start procedure. He respectfully declined
and does not recommend that anyone else try this unorthodox method.
Burt started the tractor in compliance with the owner’s manual
and he was off for a jaunt around the corn field behind my house.
With the exception of a carburetor adjustment, the tractor ran
fine.

With the change in farming techniques, a tractor made a lasting
impression on a young farm boy. That tractor was traded in on a
newer and more powerful model in the early forties. The completion
of the F-12 in 1988 kindled recollections of that early tractor for
the same, but somewhat older boy. We have shown the tractor at the
Northern Michigan Antique-Fly wheelers Club near Walloon Lake,
Michigan and pulled in the Antique Tractor Pull at the Emmet County
Fairgrounds.

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