The Model B Story

The history of the Model B was traced though John Deere's' records. With its serial number 160812, I learned that the tractor was made in the winter of 1944 and it was shipped to Central NY in the spring of that same year. My father bought it in Skaneateles and proudly told the story of how he drove it off a railroad flat car and then home to the farm. In September 2001 the B was trucked, with the Number 5 mower, to my home for restoration.

Gallery 1944 B Before

 

 

To say I grew up on this tractor is not a stretch of the truth. It is the first tractor I ever drove. I can remember how excited I was at 5 years of age, Dad had me stand on the platform and steer the tractor while it dragged the stone boat. Dad and Grandpa walked behind me picking stones. I remember how I struggled to turn the wheel in the soft dirt. He figured that while creeping along in first gear at idle, I couldn't get into too much trouble. That first time at the wheel was just the beginning for me. If I had a choice to work with the cows or work with the machinery in the field, the field work was always my preference.

The B was used regularly for 56 years until October of 2000. It had only been stored in the barn for 8 months before I changed the oil got it started and used it to mow the roadsides and field edges around the farm in the summer of 2001. I started the restoration project knowing what worked and what might need repair. That knowledge was very helpful in the project.

Gallery 1944 B The Restoration

About one year after starting the restoration, October 12, 2002 it was running again. What a joy to have it start and to hear it run. But there were still some things to finish. Winter temperatures slowed progress, so I couldn't finish the job until the summer of 2003. But I used those winter months to fix up the old Number 5 mower. I declared the job done and took the “finished” pictures on “Fathers day,” June 19, 2003.

Gallery 1944 B After Restoration

There are several people who helped with this project and I would just like to let them know how much I appreciate their help. First, many thanks to Marita, Ian, Ryan, and Taylor Sheive, and Adam Crouse for lending me use of the workshop and lending me a hand many times. I owe a big thanks to John Conklin who advised me, found parts and bailed me out of more than one jam. My cousin Brad Curtis, for his expert help with the sheet metal. Flip Stouderman for lending me the paint sprayer and giving a lot of good advice. I want to thank Jeff Cook who loves the old tractors as much as I and let me use the old girl on his farm for some “real” work, tedding hay. Also my brother Gary for helping get it shipped to my home, and encouraging me along the way. Last but not least, the great group of advice givers on JohnnyPopper.com and YTmag.com.

Gallery 1944 B At Work