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Half-Scale Deere “A” Is A Crowd Pleaser
Eli Franker has been interested in old John Deere tractors ever since he was a kid. “My great grandfather farmed with a Deere B,” he says.
So 3 years ago when an unfinished 1/2-scale, 1936 John Deere A came up for sale at an auction, he bought it and then finished building it with help from his 8-year-old son Jeffrey.
“The owner, Dick Schallau, had taken measurements off a real Deere A, so it looks very much like a smaller version of the real tractor. It also runs and drives like the real thing,” says Franker. “I bought the tractor for Jeffrey to drive. It was a fun project for us to work on together.”
The engine was old and the transmission wasn’t hooked up, so Franker ended up replacing the engine with a 1 hp., 1-cyl. engine out of an old REO push mower. It belt-drives the transmission off a Deere 60 lawn tractor. “The engine sounds somewhat similar to the ‘putt putt’ sound made by old Deere tractors,” says Franker. “It took a lot of trial and error to get the tractor to run at the right speed, using different pulleys and belts.”
The tractor’s spoked rear wheels are off an old Deere 2-row planter, while the ribbed front wheels were made by cutting and welding 2 different wheels together. “The radiator is homemade but looks original,” says Franker. “Schallau used angle iron for the tractor’s frame and sheet metal to make the hood. We had the decals on the hood custom made by a local company.”
Franker plans to display the tractor at the Clay County Fair this fall in his home town.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eli Franker, 2155 310 St., Spencer, Iowa 51301 (ph 712 260-8841; elifranker@hotmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3