From Rust to The Ashes - modern day mechanics restore vintage tractor

This year’s Howden Show at the Ashes playing field will play host to a recently renovated 1940’s John Deere Model B tractor. The tractor was renovated by staff at Jos Richardson & Son Ltd and will take pride of place at their stand.

Dave Hunt, a Technician from Glews Garage, along with and Martin Drury, Panel Beater and Lenny Bell Painter, from the Bodyshop spent 8 months painstakingly restoring the vintage tractor to bring it back to its former glory.

The tractor was rescued from The Dougherty family at Field House, Goole Fields where it had been since the 1940’s. It had been used on the farm for potato row crop work and was little more than a rust bucket that had not started up since the 1960’s. The spark plugs were missing and the engine had filled with water and rotted, the rocker shaft was broken, the pistons had all but disintegrated. Surprisingly the transmission was found to be in good order and required little more than a strip down and tender loving care. It was brought to the site in May 2005 and dismantled by the team at Richwood before being sent away to be sandblasted.

Dave Hunt, leading the team, started work on restoring the tractor in October 2006 and the first step was to get hold of the right workshop manuals, which were eventually located on the Internet. A major hurdle was to find an engineer to do the white metal bearing work on the second hand crank shaft, that had been sourced from Canada. After sending it to two engineering firms without success, a chance meeting with another tractor enthusiast in Peterborough led to an engineer in Tuxford, who completed the specialist work.

Glews Bodyshop refurbished the panels and the wheels, which took hours of rubbing down before they could be sprayed in the original John Deere colours.

Locating the parts for the tractor was a big challenge and the pistons and gaskets had to be ordered from the USA. Getting the correct tyres was also difficult and after much time searching brand new tyres were located from a dealer on the South Coast. The task of lifting and fitting them to the tractor without damaging the already painted rims, was a strenuous job.

There is still some work to be done on the tractor as the radiator panels and mud guards are proving difficult to locate and many have to be manufactured from scratch.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of working on this project. We have tried to keep as much of the tractor as it would have originally been and I am very proud of the results. Although there were challenges it is essentially a basic, simple system and was a pleasure to work on” Dave Hunt – Technician at Glews Garage

Tim Richardson Managing Director of Jos Richardson and Son Ltd said, “It is testament to the skills and commitment of our Technician’s and Bodyshop staff, who worked on this project, that the tractor is fully restored and in working order. I am looking forward to having a drive on it at Howden Show.”

The John Deere Model B series was manufactured from 1933 to 1953 and was the best selling two-cylinder John Deere tractor ever produced. The tractor was ideal for large farmers who needed a small tractor to do light work at a small cost and for smaller farmers who wanted to replace their horses. It was advertised as being able to do the work of 6-8 horses a day.

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