Restore a Classic Tractor In No Time!
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
This old tractor has been brought back to life. New details, including emblems and decals (such as IH’s Turbo Decal and front-end wheel weights), have been added, giving the process momentum. Soon, it should become clear what the final tractor will look like!
John Edgar from Heywood in Victoria’s southwest has an affinity for early oil tractors, leading the campaign to bring one back home from America.
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Do you enjoy cruising country roads and admiring vintage tractors? If you do, you are in good company! These machines conjure memories of childhood tractor rides while reminding us to enjoy simpler times more easily. Additionally, these classic machines appeal to machinery-lovers’ mechanical souls and tell the tale of America’s industrial and agricultural development; many even make collector’s items. Unfortunately, however, these vehicles don’t come cheap, often costing as much as $50K each! As such, they must be taken care of as they will last longer while being more enjoyable when driving them around!
When it comes to restoring an old tractor, the first step should be cleaning its chassis and parts thoroughly. A thorough pressure wash will quickly strip away years of dirt and paint build-up, so you can focus on blasting or sanding areas where they’re most needed. In addition, cleaning will help prevent further corrosion issues and make painting the tractor much simpler.
John Deere and International Harvester are two of the world’s most recognizable tractor brands, both well-recognized for producing top-quality machinery that stands the test of time. While neither brand was always at the forefront of innovation, their commitment to quality has paid dividends: both have developed several models that help them remain ahead of their rivals.
IHC’s 2+2 tractor was once considered revolutionary. Featuring a unique cab situated behind its engine and articulation joint to increase maneuverability and power while producing less pollution, as well as its more cost-efficient production than four-wheel drive competitors of its time, its revolutionary concept made an impactful first impression – but ultimately succumbed to financial issues at IHC.
One of the primary challenges faced by classic tractor owners is how to paint their vintage machines correctly. Although painting vintage tractors is rewarding and difficult, many online tractor paints may not provide durable coverage as promised; furthermore, too much hardener may cause the paint to crack or chip during restoration processes; fortunately, there are alternative products on the market that provide better lasting results.
Restoring an old tractor can be an exhilarating endeavor, taking considerable time, money, and effort. There will undoubtedly be challenges involved, such as finding parts, fixing damage, and repainting it to its former glory – however, there are numerous resources available to assist in the project.
An integral component of the restoration process is selecting the ideal color for a tractor’s paint job, which can be challenging given that modern paints don’t perform as their predecessors did under various lighting conditions, and it may be impossible to find an exact match of an antique tractor’s original hue. Therefore, doing some research prior to selecting your hue is key.
An investment tractor should be protected properly with long-lasting paints that won’t chip. Some people prefer spray paints as they provide more durable finishes than traditional paint; however, you should be mindful that some chemicals contained within these spray paints could pose health hazards should they come into contact with skin, pets, or children. Before using spray paints, it’s wise to read their labels carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding their usage.
Restoring a classic tractor requires stripping away its old paint and cleaning the surface thoroughly, which is both time-consuming and labor-intensive. To prep for new paint applications, this process includes power washing with chemical paint remover followed by spraying clean water rinse; repeat this several times until your tractor’s surface is ready for painting.
Kenny Ekstrom of northwest Iowa purchased a 1961 IH 560 diesel with an IH Turbo in poor condition when he purchased it in 2012. A local body shop repaired any dents in the hood before beginning the restoration process, which included Quandt Repair of Schleswig replacing the clutch and rear main seal replacement, steering shaft replacement, fuel pump installation, glow plug kit installation, and injection pump repair; special touches were also added such as emblem set decals for its turbo and chrome exhaust pipe installation. Now touring antique tractor shows throughout summer as well as attending plow day events organized by members – and all this beloved tractor now tours antique tractor shows while attending Plow Days organized by fellow members!
Coats Classic Tractors is an online store specializing in tractor parts and accessories located in Richmond, Virginia, that sells a selection of Mahindra Tractors, New Holland Equipment, STIHL Chainsaws, blowers and trimmers as well as Hustler Turf equipment. Their website is user-friendly, with detailed product descriptions for each product. Orders over $50 qualify for free shipping!
Turner, an Etowah County native and graduate of his high school’s welding program, takes great pleasure in creating small parts for half-scale tractors. He estimates spending up to 200 hours working on each pedal tractor he creates; his work was even featured in Toy Farmer magazine in July 2022! In addition to producing A-C Model G pedal tractors in half-scale form and Oliver 55 gas models, he also makes JI Case Massey Ferguson and Avery models as half-scale pieces.
Turner employs a bead blasting cabinet to clean and prepare metal parts before painting, using rattle cans of IH red from Tractor Supply for smaller parts. He sends larger components like wheel centers, rims, and drawbar components to Lisbon Powder Coating to be sandblasted and powder coated before being painted. Turner advises anyone who uses additives to obtain material safety data sheets first.
An auction will soon take place for an impressive collection of antique tractors inherited from his father and currently owned by a banker, expected to fetch in excess of $400,000. While she almost sold them outright upon seeing potential buyers come through, instead, she decided to seek advice before proceeding with selling her tractors at auction – and was pleasantly surprised with the response she got!
George and June Schaaf Tractor and Truck Museum closed this year, leaving behind these historic machines from its collection. Of note was the 1917 Willmar Little Oak one-man tractor advertised with the catchphrase, “Thirty horses can’t do what the Big Four ’30’ can.” Designed to perform similar duties as its more powerful predecessors, its longevity makes it one of the most significant farm machines ever built.
Schaaf made his highest bid on a 1913 Hart-Parr 30-60 tractor, selling for $278,250 – coming second only to a Case 40/72S six-cylinder gas engine topped out at $293,000. Schaaf advertised its Big Four “30” tractor as being “The Tractor that Can Do What Thirty Horses Can’t,” an advertisement of which can be found here.
John Edgar from Heywood, Victoria, has an avid passion for early oil tractors, particularly plow tractors. At the sale, his prized purchase was a 1924 Minneapolis 35-70 for $258,500.
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