1998 - Volume #22, Issue #6, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Kids Love These Half-Size Tractors
Prom previously built three different half-scale Deere models - including an 830 Deere - that were featured in FARM SHOW (Vol. 22, No. 3).
The steel-wheeled Spoker D is powered by a 6 hp Kohler Command gas engine connected to a Wheelhorse transmission that faces backward and is belt and chain-driven. The tractor has 23-in. high rear lugged wheels and 14-in. high front wheels. The lugs, rear wheels, and wheel spokes were all hand made. There are 48 lugs and 24 spokes on each rear wheel. Prom cut the lugs out by hand and bent and welded them together. He punched a square hole into each lug and also punched 48 square holes into each wheel rim, then bolted the lugs onto the rim. The wheel spokes are made from strap iron and are hand riveted to the hub and welded to the rim. Prom couldn't find anyone to roll the rear wheel rim so he hand rolled it himself. The axles are made from lengths of 3/4-in. steel rod.
He used 1/2-in. dia. steel pipe to make the steering wheel. He bent it into a circle, then ground off the back side to leave it "hollow" and welded on the spokes. The radiator is hand made. There's no muffler - exhaust simply comes out one side of the tractor. The seat is off an exercise bike.
"I made everything as detailed as possible," says Prom. "Deere made Spoker D's for 3 1/ 2 years beginning in 1923. A total of fifty 1923 Spoker D's were built, and 12 are still registered with the Deere Two Cylinder Club. That's pretty impressive. The 1923 model was different from the others in that it had a 26-in. dia. spoked flywheel instead of 24-in. and had a strap iron front axle instead of cast iron. Each side of the radiator has four square holes and there are a total of 30 slots in the steering wheel and its spokes."
The McCormick-Deering W-9 is equipped with a Datsun 1200 cc engine; International Cub Cadet transmission and rear end, with a Opel Cadet pressure plate used in the trans-mission drive; Chevy Vega radiator, turned crosswise and cut down; and Ford Pinto clutch and disc and transmission shaft. He hand made the frame, hood, grille, manifold, belly pan, bell housing, and fenders. The steering wheel was hand made from round steel tubing. The seat is off an exercise bike and is spring-loaded like the one on the real tractor. Prom bought the muffler, which was originally designed for an Allis Chalmers B tractor, at Fleet Farm. The gas tank is off a Farmall B tractor. He shortened the tank by 6 in., narrowed it by 4 in., and cut 3 in. off the height, then welded all the pieces back together and used fiberglass to seal it.
The 8-spoked rear wheels are 15 1/2 in. high and 12 in. wide and are off an old pickup. The original rims were only 8 in. wide. Prom cut them and welded in new material to widen them by 4 in. The 32-in. high tires are off a Ditch Witch. The 10-in. high front wheels were hand made and are fitted with commercial tires.
"The W-9 was made from 1939 to 1954 and was one of IH's biggest tractors," says Prom. "It was powered by a big 4-cylinder gas engine. The manifold on the Datsun engine that I used was too big so I had to hand make the intake and exhaust manifolds. I placed the battery inside a stainless steel box to prevent corrosion and mounted it outside the frame, just like on the real tractor. I hand made the fenders by cutting the edges off trailer fenders and welding them to flat metal."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Pat Prom, 12661 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, Minn. 55347 (ph 612 944-9266).
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