The Mysterious Case SI

A 1948 Case SI with Steel Wheels and a Two-Speed Winch Drive is this the Only Survivor From a Run of 100?

| March/April 2003

I have restored a wide variety of antique farm equipment in the last few years, and each project has given me the satisfaction of seeing a proud and sturdy piece of machinery put back to shape performing its original function. Except for one item: A 1948 Case SI tractor.

It's not that the restoration didn't go well, because it did. After a lot of cleaning, fabrication of missing parts, painting and carburetor and clutch work, the tractor looks and runs just fine. The problem is I can't figure out what it was used for, and I'm hoping an alert Gas Engine Magazine reader will be able to fill me in on the details. But first, some background.

The Case SI

I found this tractor in the vicinity of Mt. Rainier in Washington. The seller had bought it from someone who had tried to use it as a garden tractor, with understandably poor results. After getting it home and cleaning it up, I found that it was a 1948 Case SI, serial number 5212750. It sits on spoked steel wheels, the rears wearing extension rims fastened with cleats, and it doesn't have a three-point hitch or a PTO - and it doesn't have a belt pulley, either. Instead, at the pulley location there is a two-speed gear box, which has this imprint:

A copy of the Case SI's original build card, which confirms the tractor was equipped with steel wheels and was shipped to the Evans winch company.

The Case SI as found. The original silver paint, as well as some of the original decals, is still visible. Note the adjustable, two-position pan seat.


The original paint appears to have been silver, with decals - my research shows the SI usually shipped with the traditional Case Flambeau red/orange color, or occasionally olive drab. Further, the tractor has a very prominent 'Old Abe' eagle cast into the differential housing, and a very prominent 'CASE' embossed into the radiator housing.