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The Model T That Wanted To Be A Tractor

| September/October 1996

  • Depression tractor
    This depression tractor is owned and was restored by Orville Schmidt, 2140 Hwy DD, Campbellsport, WI 53010. Below, the tractor with half scale Rumely and JD GP.
  • Depression tractor

  • Depression tractor
  • Depression tractor

2986 Ridge Road, West Bend, Wisconsin 53095

Let me start this story with a little history of my father. Like many of us in our 40s and early 50s, many of our fathers were in either W.W.II or the Korean War. My father was in W.W.II in the Philippines flying in B-25 bombers. It must have been a hoot listening to those two 1500-plus horsepower engines starting up! But, even before this, when he was a teenager he was already building tractors from old car parts.

When I was a kid growing up on the farm in the '50s, my dad was always building things, either for me or for around the farm. I was the first on the block to have a small tractor which Dad built from lawnmower parts and a Power Products engine. I was also the first on the block to have a motorized bicycle. It was Dad's old Schwinn with an old Power Products engine bolted to the front fork. You just peddled to start it and hit the brakes to stop it, or at least that was the theory.

I could tell you stories of that bike that would really make you laugh! There was one time when I really took a flip and hurt my frakas, it took about two weeks to heal.

Dad has been building things as long as I can remember, and is never satisfied with just a plain old average restoration. He always has to add a little something to make it different.

We had a doodle-bug on the farm and I guess he just had to have another one, 40 years later. He placed an ad in the paper looking for a depression tractor. A man by the name of Junior Holden from Berlin, Wisconsin, called and said he had one, so Dad went out to take a look.


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