John Deere Hot Rod Turns Heads

Gene Brass gets lots of looks, whether driving down the highway, stopping in town or at a hot rod show. His green and yellow hot rod has enough tractor in it to get plenty of double takes.

“The hood came from a Deere 6400 tractor, the air cleaner from a 4230 tractor, and the cab is a Year-A-Round model often found on older Deeres,” says Brass.”

Adding to the agricultural look are rectangular lights, a toolbox off an old implement and a one-row planter on the back. However, while it may look a bit like a Deere tractor, it runs a little faster. The 350 Chevy engine and transmission give it the speed, and the hot rod frame and components give it the ride, cruising at road speeds of up to 80 mph.
“I started out with a custom-built frame and set it on an S10 rear end and a 1940 Ford front axle with Chevy disc brakes,” says Brass. “The pipes are Sprint headers with short extensions to balance them. The steering system is from Speedway with a pop-off steering wheel for easy in and out.”

Mounting the cab required a bit of modification. His first step was to cut it down. He retained the front window glass and windshield wiper, but removed the other three sides. He also fabricated a new dash.

Brass turned to a friend who is an expert pipe welder to cut about 4 in. off the bottom. He then set it in place and checked weight for springs and coil shocks. The 8-gal. fuel tank was mounted beneath it.

Initially Brass installed a 1940’s radiator, but after it sprung a leak, he replaced it with a new aluminum one. The grillwork is expanded metal
mesh in front of the fan.

Brass stayed true to Deere green and yellow throughout with appropriate detailing and insignia. Even the steering wheel has a deer at its center.
Brass says the rig came together smoothly, though there was a little shaking when he first took it out. “An experienced hot rod builder told me to check alignment. I was off about 3/4-in. After I adjusted it, I drove it down the road at 80 without a shake.”

The front mounted weights, rear mount quick-tach hitch, rear-mount planter and Deere GPS housing on top of the cab add to the “tractor” look. The weights are wooden replicas of Deere garden tractor weights.

“A friend picked up the quick-tach at an auction, and I made some brackets and welded it to the rear of the cab,” said Brass. “I wanted an implement on back, but a plow would have been too heavy.”

With the help of his local Deere dealer, Brass fabricated a scaled down planter unit. He used an insecticide box for the seed hopper and fitted it with disc openers and closing wheels.

“People ask if it’s real,” says Brass. “I tell them it’s my replant machine. The box is handy for keeping cleaning cloths and things for shows.”

Brass has had his hot rod at several shows and enjoys road trips with his wife or grandkids. He has had several offers from prospective buyers.

After a recent one, he called a family meeting for input on possible sale.

“The family voted no on a sale,” says Brass. “I’ll just continue to enjoy driving it and giving rides to my grandchildren and their friends.”