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Restore a Classic Tractor: a How-To Guide

By Tom Seest

Can You Buy a Restored Classic Tractor?

At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.

Can You Buy a Restored Classic Tractor?

Can You Buy a Restored Classic Tractor?

Restored classic tractors for sale are an increasingly popular collectible among collectors but can represent a substantial monetary investment. So, what should you look out for when purchasing one?

What Makes a Classic Tractor Worth Buying?

When purchasing a classic tractor, there are a few key considerations to remember. First is your priorities – are you collecting for exhibition purposes or using it for work purposes? Selecting the appropriate machine depends heavily on this decision – one with high collectible value may not make an ideal work tractor. The second is project costs. Remember that purchasing and restoring classic tractors doesn’t only involve purchasing them but also covering up-front costs associated with getting them running properly again.
If you are purchasing a tractor to use on your farm or restore, it is wise to inspect both its engine and drive train thoroughly before purchasing it. Keep an eye out for signs of rust or cracks that cannot be fixed; such as holes in the engine block or transmission case that cost too much to fix; cracked castings also tend to be costly for repair.
Also, inspect the tires. Assuming you’re buying an original condition tractor, there may not be many locations offering replacement tires for vintage tractors; knowing this ahead of time could alter your decision whether or not to purchase.
Downs advises buyers to carefully examine the wiring and electrical system of their tractor as part of their due diligence. He stresses the importance of keeping original components when possible as some are difficult to replace; examples include generators, starters, carburetors, mags, and radiators, which should all be original to protect their value and value of ownership.”
Last but not least, it is also essential to carefully consider the location of a seller. Ideally it would be close to where you live or at least contain an existing dealership that sells your brand of choice; this becomes even more critical if searching for something like Allis-Chalmers that has since gone out of production and therefore requires finding someone who used to carry that particular brand as part of their inventory.

What Makes a Classic Tractor Worth Buying?

What Makes a Classic Tractor Worth Buying?

Reviving History: How Can Classic Tractors Be Restored?

The purchase of an antique tractor requires both financial and time investment. Not only are antique tractors functional pieces of American history and culture, but their value increases when kept running properly – collectors go the extra mile to keep their tractors operational! Before embarking on such a venture, it is wise to carefully assess one’s motivations and prepare one mentally for what lies ahead – an investment such as this should never be undertaken lightly!
Tractor restoration can be a highly satisfying hobby. Spending the time to find and refurbish an appropriate classic garden tractor takes patience, planning, and some physical effort – something not everyone is up for doing. However, those not mentally ready should explore other avenues before diving in with both feet.
If you lack mechanical expertise or don’t have enough space to maintain one yourself, consider hiring someone else to do the work for you. There are various companies that provide this service and you may be surprised that the cost may not exceed purchasing a dependable lawn and garden tractor yourself.
Consideration should also be given to the availability of parts for your particular tractor. While certain pieces might be easily available, others could prove harder to come by and lead to additional costs when restoring a project. This factor could make all the difference.
If the part you need is hard to come by, make it known before purchasing it from any seller. A knowledgeable seller should recognize how essential this part is and offer help or alternative suggestions in locating or finding it.

Reviving History: How Can Classic Tractors Be Restored?

Reviving History: How Can Classic Tractors Be Restored?

Ready to Take Home a Restored Classic Tractor?

Buying your first antique tractor requires patience and deliberation, according to Les Gitts of Antique Power magazine (March/April 2014 issue). It can be easy to be drawn in by all the excitement surrounding purchasing such an object, but don’t make hasty decisions as you want the purchase to be exactly right,” advises Gitts, who owns an Allis-Chalmers Model B featured in that issue of Antique Power magazine. “After all, this investment represents significant expenses. Take your time with it.”
General rules suggest that older tractors are more valuable than newer ones. Older and rarer tractors typically command the highest prices; however, even very common models in good condition can command significant returns – expect to pay anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 for restored classic tractors, according to Gantvoort.
Consider how you intend to use your tractor carefully, as this can have a big impact on the cost. If showing it at shows, remember which years are considered “vintage.” “Visiting shows can be expensive, and it is essential that the correct plow be available,” notes Gantvoort.
Before purchasing a tractor, it’s also important to plan how you will transport it. Some models are too large to fit on a trailer, while others feature engine types that require special transmission systems that are not available in modern cars.
Consider the cost of parts as you make your decision. While new parts can be expensive, used ones tend to be significantly less so. When searching for specific components, it can also be beneficial to ask around and see what others are paying.
One additional consideration should be scams. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to come across people online offering restored tractors at unrealistically high prices. When making any purchase, be sure to get all promises made regarding warranties or guarantees in writing and ask for demonstrations of how it operates; this will give an idea of what capabilities are available and help avoid surprises later on.

Ready to Take Home a Restored Classic Tractor?

Ready to Take Home a Restored Classic Tractor?

How Can You Restore Classic Tractors?

Farmers who can no longer afford new tractors are turning to older models in an attempt to stretch out their lives. Restoring classic tractors may seem daunting at first, but with proper tools and an understanding of nostalgia, it is possible to breathe new life into classic machines and turn them into works of art that bring back fond memories.
Restoration manuals are an invaluable resource when it comes to restoring vintage tractors. This book details all of the steps involved and offers helpful hints, tips, tricks and suggestions for novice restorers as well as experienced restorers alike. Having this book close by ensures proper treatments are administered for individual parts and ensures the entire tractor is restored correctly.
The first step of the restoration process is power washing the tractor and stripping away existing paint. Next comes prepping it for painting with sandblasting wheels and other smaller parts and spraying with rust inhibitor and primer before using a high volume low pressure (HVLP) spray gun to apply paint.
Professional restorers recommend selecting the appropriate products to create an exceptional finish. Professionals advise using epoxy primers to seal off metal parts before adding a high-quality base coat in any color of your choosing and applying decals after the paint dries.
Once the paint has dried, reassembling your tractor is easy, and any final touches can be added – including replacing or cutting back on its original steering wheel as well as installing new gauges such as tachometer, temperature gauges, and fuel gauges.
Once complete, a completed tractor can be shown off at antique tractor shows and parades; even put to work on farms to help cultivate crops – either way it serves as an elegant reminder of an era gone by.

How Can You Restore Classic Tractors?

How Can You Restore Classic Tractors?

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