2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Rare Ohio-Built Tractor Still Runs Great
“I bought it from a man for $1,000 who got it from the golf course for free,” says Goodwin. “He wanted to buy a backhoe from the golf course and offered them $3,000. They told him it was a deal if he took the old tractor, too.”
Goodwin tore the tractor down to the frame and put it back together one piece at a time. He recalls the brake housing being messed up, and there was a leaky seal on a pulley on the main shaft.
Needing parts, he contacted Al Brockway, grandson of the founder. Brockway and his wife Pat still live near the family factory that closed in 1959.
Brockway has 6 tractors that were made under the family brand names. According to an article by Sam Moore in Farm and Dairy magazine in 2012, the first tractors built by the Brockways were called American Garden Tractors, small 4-wheeled tractors using a Chevy 4-cylinder engine and transmission. In 1940, they formed the Leader Tractor Co., making a larger and heavier machine, initially powered by a Chevy 4-cylinder, later by a 6-cylinder Chrysler and still later by a Hercules IXB 4-cylinder flat-head engine.
“Leaders were made by the thousands between 1944 and 1948, leaving the factory in groups of 8 on car carriers,” says Al Brockway, now 82. He recalls his father having to accompany a shipment of 12 to Mexico so he could teach the operators how to drive the tractors.
“I had an early Leader model that was built in 1942 and still have one of the last ones made in 1948,” says Brockway. “I also have 3 Brockways, including one of the last of them. My dad used it for years to mow his multi-acre lawn.”
Only 12 of the 1942 models were made, and Brockway knows of 4 that still exist. He sold his to friend and fellow Brockway family tractor collector, Lynn Hosmer, Burton, Ohio.
“I traded a case of beer for my first Leader in the early 1980’s,” recalls Hosmer, who collects Ohio-made tractors. He has known Brockway for 44 years and prizes his long friendship.
In 1949, a hostile takeover ended with the loss of the Leader tractor name and the closing of the factory. Brockway’s father and grandfather quickly relocated and started building the G49 Brockway tractor, a heavier version of the Leader. It was available with a 42.8 hp Continental F-162 gas engine or a 30.6 hp Continental GD-157 diesel. Over the years they were painted various colors.
“Al Brockway told me they once got 200 gal. of school bus yellow paint, so for 2 years the tractors were all painted yellow,” recalls Goodwin.
He says the Brockways were ahead of their time. “They had a working 3-pt. hitch, headlights, 4 speeds forward and reverse, and a road speed of 15 mph,” says Goodwin. “They offered a pto shaft with a small belt pulley to the side.”
He describes his Brockway as a smooth runner that starts easy. He enjoys taking it to tractor shows and pulling veterans’ floats in parades. He has seen few others in good shape, which may be why another vintage tractor collector recently approached him.
“He offered me $25,000,” says Goodwin. “I have about $3,000 in it, but it’s not for sale.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Goodwin, 122 N. Franklin St., Richwood, Ohio 43344 (ph 740 943-3585).
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