Work-Bird

By Staff
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37 Cepp Road Perkiomenville, PA 18074

See the before and after photos of a yard tractor I recently
restored. I found this gem discarded at the local recycling center.
It’s a 1965 Work Bird, model 65-1044, serial #0100-131. The
engine is a Wisconsin TR-10D which I converted to battery
ignition.

According to Ray at Ray’s Mowers, Boyertown, Pennsylvania,
it was made by a company that also produced a snowmobile called
Snow-Bird, and a tiller called Earth-Bird. The company was acquired
by Yard-Man, which became part of MTD. I spoke to customer service
at MTD. They recalled the names, but when I sent a photo of the
Work-Bird, it was unfamiliar to them.

The tractor was in excellent condition mechanically, but had
been stored outside for many years and when the sheet metal was
sandblasted, it looked like lace. The engine wasn’t stuck, and
needed only minor shop work to rebuild. The original colors I was
able to find matched Ford tractor white & blue. The finished
tractor is definitely something different to drive. It steers by
the rear wheels, which are so well balanced I can lift the rear of
the unit with one hand. The steering wheel goes 4 turns lock to
lock, so the knob comes in handy. I found driving around the
driveway to be fun, but soon discovered why we don’t see more
of these tractors around.

I grow and sell Christmas trees, and when my John Deere broke
down I decided to put the Work-Bird into service. Well, driving in
undefined circles is one thing, but pulling a trailer around rocks
and trees with this crazy rear steering is definitely an art that
takes time to master. People thought I was drunk!

As for accessories, there was a yoke in front to attach a mower,
which would have definitely required a driver to hold the rear
wheels down. I would be interested to find a mower, or better yet,
a plow blade. The tractor wasn’t a stripped-down model. It has
lights, a cigarette lighter, differential lock-up, a very
comfortable seat on soft springs, and an outlet for 12 volt
appliances.

This’ is a rare tractor, at least in this part of the
country. I would like to know if there are others.

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