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Dads Farmall M

This is not a story about some old timer and tractor that had been together for the last 60+ years. This is about a man that always said he would like to have a “M.” Dad was born in 1932 and growing up he was always around equipment, livestock, and farming in general. He was very mechanical minded. Through the years there were numerous tractors of various sizes, shapes, and colors. However, red was the most desirable color. He was a pretty good “shade tree mechanic” and never bought anything that just worked as it should. Dad would be in for the things someone had given up on or was hiding in the back of the barn or even some fence row somewhere, then pull the ol’ rabbit out of the hat trick and would be working the garden with it the next spring. As time passes by, we get older, situations change, things slow down, our ability to get around and do things diminishes, but our wants are still there. My sons and myself developed the same love for old tractors, equipment, junk even. We have a few old (and newer) tractors and pieces of equipment ourselves. Then late summer 2016 Dad is now 84 years old living in a little apartment in town and walking slowly with the aid of a walker. He says to me one day that a cousin of his has this tractor that he is selling and Dad thinks I need to add to my own collection. We set the date and go look at this “M” that has been sitting in the shed for the last 15-20 years sunk up in mud and manure 10 in. deep with dilapidated tires, rims rotted off, and a loader that various patches, scabs and an additional 40 pounds of weld. Upon further inspection the transmission does not “feel” right. My youngest son and I make the decision we have to many projects now and we do not need another. The “M” is left to reside alongside a few other pieces of decomposing equipment. Then about 3 weeks later Dad calls to tell me he needs some help. Ok, help doing what? Help going to get a tractor. Ok, what kind of tractor? A Farmall M he says. Now remember the whole walker/apartment statement. By now I have already guessed the answer but I still must ask. Ok, just where is this thing going? Your house of course, I do not have a place for it. So, the day comes and the adventure begins. The tractor comes home, the loader removed, and we start working on it, but it does not take top priority. The Farmall M tin work has a few dings and dents but overall, in fair shape. The paint looks as if it was painted with a paint brush by someone that had consumed a lot of alcohol beforehand. It took the normal carb kit, points, plugs, rims, tires, couple bearings, a shifting fork in the transmission and the “M” was running good enough to take Dad on one of the local tractor rides in August 2017. We rode approx. 26 miles that day and he got to tell his old friends about the “M” and shoot the bull with everyone. On the return trip home from the ride, he said he was happy and that the tractor was now mine to have and that he was done. Sometime mid 2018 my oldest son was using it when a little bird nest on the manifold caught fire and blacked the paint on the side of the hood before being extinguished. We made a few more rides over the next couple years then Dad passed away in June 2019. Shortly after he passed it caught fire again due to the alternator shorting out. Since then, the “M” has received other attention such as an alternator upgrade, new wiring, water jacket cover, water pump, and now in the process of receiving a new set of fenders and extensions. It has become a valuable player in the normal operations and even though Dad never once sat in the seat or held the steering wheel I guess it will be always known as Dad’s “M.”

Larry Lee Phelps, TN, entered 2022-12-04
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