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Mini B Powered By Big Flathead V-8
Mike Noonan’s Mini B may be small at 36 in. tall, but it attracts plenty of attention when he starts it up. The loud 100 hp 1949 Ford flathead V-8 engine with its dual straight pipe exhaust creates a muscle car sound recognized by folks who were teens in the 1940’s and 50’s.
    Another priority was to use Allis Chalmers parts, because they were the tractors used on his grandfather’s farm. Named the Mini B after the A-C model B, Noonan’s creation is more than an orange tractor with an oversize engine. It’s a hybrid of parts Noonan managed to merge to make a working tractor.
    It’s also very short - on purpose. Noonan and his friend Larry Wolden were inspired to build mini tractors after meeting Chris Luebke at a Case garden tractor show.
    “I was impressed with one of his project tractors. He had chopped the frame and lowered it by about 6 in., which allowed the driver to just step over the console to get on instead of climbing over the console,” Noonan says, noting that at 73 years old, he appreciates that it’s easy to get on and off the tractor.
    He found a 1983 Case 226 garden tractor with a hydraulic drive system and the V-8 engine on Craigslist. He cut the tractor frame down 5 in. and cut off the front end.
    “I had to build a new front end to accommodate the 600-lb. engine. I made it out of 1/2-in. steel frame and bolted it onto the garden tractor frame and reinforced it,” Noonan says.
    Allis Chalmers B tractors provided many necessary parts for the steering spindles, hubs, tie rods and wishbone. He used the AC grill and welded together two hoods to cover the oversize engine. He fabricated fenders from the sheet metal and used the tractor seat.
    Noonan says he wasn’t familiar with hydraulics and was grateful for Luebke’s advice. Building the wiring harness and fixing up and adding power steering from a scrapped Yanmar compact tractor also proved to be challenging.
    He also built a custom trailer with a seat for buddies to ride on - with a cooler below the seat for refreshments.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Noonan, 1407 Thomas St., Marinette, Wis. 54143 (ph 715 732-2994; mnoonan42@gmail.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1