W-40 McCormick-Deering

| January/February 1996

  • W-40 tractor ready to be restored
    W-40 ready to be restored. In the picture is my brother, Duffy Vandoorne.
  • W-40 tractor restored
    W-40 restored. My father in law, Omer Gastonguay, 86, stands by the tractor

  • W-40 tractor ready to be restored
  • W-40 tractor restored

346 McDiarmid Drive, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada 7RB 2H4

My story began on Boxing Day, December 26th, 1991.

My brother and his wife were visiting and I was showing them pictures of different tractors that I have restored. He told me that he knew where there was a W-40 McCormick-Deering on steel; he had seen it while deer hunting in the Turtle Mountains. Turtle Mountains are a ridge of rolling knolls between North Dakota and Manitoba, and the International Peace Garden is located in the Turtle Mountains.

The tractor was originally owned by George Griffith, who did bull dozing with a Caterpillar and the W-40 was used on the breaking plow. During the 1940s, the W-40 was left and parked on the George Schoonbaert farm. Needless to say, I just had to see this tractor. I picked up my brother Duffy. We were only able to get within a quarter of a mile with my 4 x 4 Ford truck, because of so much snow. We proceeded the rest of the way on foot.

Having a camera along, I was able to take some pictures. It was a rough looking tractor, and naturally, it had seized. The radiator cap was missing, so the squirrels and chipmunks used the radiator for storage. The fenders were torn and bent from tree branches and stumps that had grown up around the lugs. What a challenge! But I really wanted this tractor.

Finding the owner was the next step. The Griffiths had both passed away, but they had a married daughter in Edmonton, however, no one knew her married name. On May 20th my brother phoned to report there was not much progress with the search, though an aunt had been found and she was away south on a holiday. So he was anxiously waiting for her return home.