When I was young, I didn’t get excited about the stuff that made city
kids get happy like motorcycles or fast cars. I was, and still am, a
farm kid so if you want to get my motor running about a new purchase
it will have to be a baler, a new sprayer or an old tractor. I got my
motor running this past week.
If I look at my world and the purchases which I’ve made to populate
it, you would simply see larger versions of the toys I had when I was
a kid. I remember wishing my toy tractors had a narrow
front end instead of the wide front. A narrow front end is when both
front tires are mounted together directly under the tractor while a
wide front end has the front tires mounted at either end of an axle.
As a youngster, I would push my tractors through the sand by placing
my hand on top of the cab. All of this effort would eventually bend
the wide front axle of my toy tractor, a fact born out my a John
Deere tractor I still have in a closet upstairs. I knew a narrow
front end would bear use better although it would be harder to push
the tractor as the front wheels would dig in more easily than would a
wide front axle. I didn’t care; I would rather play harder for a
longer time than play easy for a shorter amount of time.
So I am now an adult, although I still enjoy most of the same things
I did as a kid; enter the purchase which got my motor running. Last
week at about ten at night, in the cold and wet, a 1961 460
International Harvester/Farmall row-crop, narrow-front tractor arrived all
the way from Ettrick, Wisconsin. The 460 was basically a version of
the IHC/Farmall M but was more styled, had better hydraulics, power
steering and more horsepower. It is beautiful; I mean this is a
nice-looking tractor. It is a 1961 so it has the improved rear axles
and boasts right around 50 horsepower. The long wheelbase makes it
comfortable to ride and the narrow-front end makes it turn nice. Oh,
I know to be careful with a narrow front so save the warnings. I was
a little worried that it wouldn’t be able to pull my no-till drill
but I tried it out and it did just fine.
I called my brother Dave after I had a few days with the tractor.
Dave has a 450 IHC/Farmall which he will soon finish restoring.
It felt good to talk tractors with Dave, always does. I like these older
tractors because most of their problems can be investigated by
following a push rod or hose to its source. Newer tractors confound
me as many of their problems are buried under plastic shrouds or
originate because of computer problems. Do we really need computers
in a tractor-I mean it’s still just pulling a shovel through the
ground and dropping some seed into a furrow. It seems odd to me that
a whole farm grinds to a halt when the blue-tooth enabled mp3 player
won’t pull in the latest internet radio station. Anyway, there are no
computers on my tractor and this is the way that both the tractor and
I like my “new” tractor and look forward to using and repairing it
however I shouldn’t have to worry about bending the front axle. I’m
not in the sand pile anymore but I am still that kid with the tractor.