Three For The Price Of Two


| August/September 1988



Jim Peck

Jim Peck

U. S. Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, 613 U.S. Post Office Courthouse, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202

As a long-time subscriber but small-time collector, I always look forward to the arrival of GEM and find enjoyment in scanning its pages from cover to cover. It doesn't take long to absorb news concerning the engines in my small collection, of which an excellent Foos Jr., on trucks, is my favorite. However, I find the articles on tractor restoration to be of particular interest. It occurred to me that my own experience in that area might be of interest to other readers.

I own an 80 acre tract in a nearby county which some might call junk land-but they'd better not let me hear them say it! Having had difficulty keeping a couple of acres mowed around the house and outbuildings on what I laughingly call my 'farm', a friend gave me an old Harvester International Cub with a Woods mower which was nearly as decrepit as the farm itself. That poor old tractor, which had spent its best days being abused by highway department employees of a rural county, had been left outdoors, untouched by human hands, for some years. Getting it into operable shape proved to be a prolonged and not inexpensive undertaking, but the old fellow did its level best to do a job for a dozen years.

Last year two of my sons convinced me that I was waging a losing battle with my vintage machine, and one of them located an identical Cub at a so-so price. It had been used exclusively for snow plowing and was equipped with a blade rather than a mower, but the engine had been recently ovehauled, and in general it enjoyed better health than my creaking invalid. I bought it, and Jim and Ched began the slow process of converting the two machines into one excellent tractor and another not so good-but not so bad either!

The 'boys' (I call them that, but no one except a father or an elderly uncle would) undertook the chore, intending to simply put all the best parts on one tractor, the more worn on the other. For example, the rear wheels and draw bar of the second tractor were badly pitted by the salt used in snow removal, so they went on the 'not so good' unit, while the tires stayed on the better machine. As work progressed, however, my sons' enthusiasm in the pursuit of excellence got the better of them, and they went far beyond original expectations.

Both tractors were totally disassembled, and I do mean totally. All parts, from big ones like fenders to little ones the size of your thumb, were sandblasted and sanded, then spray painted with primer, and followed by several final coats. The hood of the better tractor ended up with a finish competitive with that on any luxury automobile.