4805 266th St. East Spanaway, Washington 98387
Several months had passed since I finished my first tractor
restoration. Once again my garage was clean, my wife and I were
spending quality time together, and I had a nice Cletrac 15 to
bring to the shows. What’s wrong with this picture? Having
caught the antique tractor bug, I needed another tractor to
Although I love crawlers, I realize that track layers and
asphalt don’t mix. I then decided I needed something that was
easier to transport, and was on the lookout for a wheel tractor.
Most of my friends in Branch 20 of the Early Day Gas Engine and
Tractor Association are Case owners. I thought it would be best to
stick with something I could easily get help on when I needed
In May 1993, I found an ad for a 1941 ‘S’ Case tractor,
serial #4509271S, badly in need of repair in southwestern
Washington. The engine block had an 8′ crack from freezing. The
mag, throttle and governor assembly had no resemblance to the
original product that had left Racine, Wisconsin, 52 years before.
It ran, but very poorly. The owner was frustrated, as he was never
able to get it to run right and was willing to sell it for the cost
he invested in new rear tires. I paid him his asking price, and
with the assistance of a friend, John Neitzl from Port Orchard, we
went to pick up the moss-covered tractor with the shiny new tires.
Due to John’s lead foot, my tractor owns the world land speed
record for a piece of agricultural machinery. His help was greatly
appreciated; however, pulling the two ton piece of cast iron
tractor up Interstate 5 was more excitement than I wished to
experience. John, as well as his father, Carl, are authorities on
Case tractors and helped me during the restoration project.
Before starting the restoration, I proceeded to learn everything
I could about the tractor. I joined the J.I. Case Collectors
Association and obtained a shop manual on the ‘S’ series.
By joining the JICCA, I was able to tap into a huge amount of
available resources. It’s a great organization and I found the
members to be most friendly and helpful.
I thought the restoration would be a piece of cake, considering
the difficulty I had had obtaining parts for my Cletrac from the
company, which had been out of business since the 1940s. At least
Case was still in business and the parts that I needed would be
more easily accessible. I was totally wrong! The few parts that
still can be obtained from Case, such as the gauges, can be
expensive disappointments. Good used parts can be one man’s
opinion. After many phone calls and a little luck, I was able to
obtain all the missing pieces I needed.
A few fine tuning tips were needed from a fellow club member,
John Corbin, Spanaway, Washington. John is well known throughout
the area for making an engine purr. After following his advice, a
revolution of the rear tires was all that was needed to pull start
the tractor. It was very satisfying to hear it sit there and run on
throttle with no adjustments needed.
After overhauling the entire engine, applying a new paint with
meticulous detail, I had a tractor in my garage that was an exact
replica of its original condition in September 1941. My neighbor,
Will Welsch, helped me fabricate a custom Case trailer for hauling.
Although I am not easily impressed, seeing the Case on its custom
trailer totally overwhelmed me.
Now it’s early summer, once again my garage is clean, my
wife sees me more often. The tractor is on the trailer and it’s