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THE START OF A LONG FRIENDSHIP

Author Photo
By B. J. Clay | Aug 1, 1995

7092 Hunters Ridge Drive Plainfield, Indiana 46168

I can still remember the day in the mid-Fifties when the Gravely
dealer (Jack Dayton, Louisville) delivered the shiny new Model LI
with a rotary mower, rotary plow, and cultivator to my father. I
was in junior high and this was the start of a long
‘friendship.’ We quickly built a riding sulky, and by the
following summer I had established an extensive mowing service for
the times.

Later, when I had my first home several years after college, I
‘borrowed’ the tractor from my mother and used it until I
moved into a condo. It was then returned to southern Indiana and
sold.

Upon reading the fine article in the July 1994 GEM, my interest
in Gravelys was again renewed. I had moved and had a small area of
woods that needed to be mowed and cleared of small brush.

Remember the circular saw that attached to the rotary mower
drive portion? My family made some inquiries and learned of a man
who might have an old Gravely. When we visited his shed, there was
a Model LI, fitted with an electric start, a Model L, steering
sulky rotary mower, axle extensions, and a ‘pile of parts.’
After negotiations the Gravelys and parts were mine. As Gravely
owners remember, you either loved or hated them. This fellow fell
into the latter group.

I’ve since picked up the tractors and stored them at my
parents’ home. As the picture shows, they need some
‘detailing’ to return to mint condition. But, the best part
of all was when we discovered that the LI tractor was the one owned
by my father! I could identify the marking on the gas tank holding
shroud and the spare flywheel/crank casting that had been drilled
years ago to mount a pulley for a V-belt/electric motor start
system. I don’t intend to again let it be out of my
‘friendship.’

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