I bought a tractor


I bought a tractor. A little old Ferguson -54. From the same year my motorcycle is! (The motorcycle is Ural M-72. I’ll post some pictures of that too some day.)

I looked for tractors quite a while. First one we went to see with my wife, was a real joke. I found a small advertisement of a Ferguson -49. 1050 euros, and the owner said it was in good shape. The only bad thing was that it was located in Kokkola, some 180km away. Some transportation was needed. We rented a dolly for 15 euros and went to Kokkola. In Finland it’s not allowed to exceed 60km/h with an unsuspended dolly, so it took us 3 hours to get there.

When we got there, we were greeted by a middle aged XXL couple, a loudly barking German shepherd and a rusty old tractor. I wasn’t interested in how the tractor looked like, I wanted to know how it worked, so I asked the man to start it. It took a half a minute revving the start engine to start the motor, but it did start up, eventually. We pulled away a flivver which was blocking the way and I sat on the bench. I heard my wife scream and saw that the flivver was rolling downhill towards the man’s shiny car. Luckily the man and my wife could stop it before it was too late and pulled it to a more secure position. I drove ahead for a meter or so, but because of my inadequate operating skills, the motor stopped. I asked the man to start it up again and to drive it to more open area. He drove the thing out of the shed, but the engine stopped again. This time he couldn’t start it up anymore. He tried and tried, but the tractor ran only short bursts. Every time the tractor started, the German shepherd (called ”Honey”) began barking and even though the tractor was loud, let me tell you, you could well hear the dog over the tractors noise. The dog also wanted to go so close to the radiator fan that I was afraid the fan would catch it by nose or tail, so I kept protecting the dog from the fan. The guy said that the dog is ”a real machine dude”. Then the battery ran out. At this point we had already spent an hour or so on the site and were planning to get back soon. But we were still encouraged to stay, because the man boasted that ”I’m going to start this thing today”. We went back to our car to eat something and waited for the battery to charge. Then some more starting attempts, dog barking, fiddling the carburator needle, spraying fuel straight into the cylinders through spark plug holes, battery dead again. I proposed that I’d drive my car next to the tractor and we’d try to start with that battery. We decided to do so and pulled cables from the car’s battery to the tractor’s. I revved the car’s engine and the guy started doing his stuff. Hot day, car engine revving, dog barking, tractor not starting, a fat guy running around the tractor, swetting, swearing, pants falling. Nothing. The guy’s wife came to encourage his husband by telling him ”It’s not going to work” and patting him compassionately on the shoulder. I was amused, but didn’t show it. It was just surreal. We got back on the road and I probably exceeded the speed limit a few times. We saw a tractor museum on the way back and I had an idea of going and asking them if they’d sell us a tractor. The owner wasn’t there. Took a short cut through a bumpy gravel road back to the dolly’s renter. The dolly followed us jumping all over the place while I kept the speed as high as I could. I was exhausted when we got back home.

Then I found David Brown which was reasonably priced and supposedly in pretty good condition, but I never got to see that one. A sad thing happened. On the weekend when we were supposed to go and see the tractor, my wife’s father died. The next weekend the tractor was already sold.

Then I found this Ferguson which I have now, but didn’t make it to see it, because of the funeral. There was an advertisement of it on a net site where people can sell their cars and tractors and other vehicles (http://www.nettiauto.com).

The funeral day was sad, but got happier to the evening. Actually it was the ”funniest” funeral where I’ve been, if you’re allowed to say so. We sang songs and played musical instruments. We even sang ”Whiskey in the jar-o” and ”Always look on the bright side of life” – the song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, you know the last song when the three men are hanging on the crosses and one of them is a real optimist (”Hey, we’ve got still a few hours to live”). I have to say that that song was not my selection, but my wife’s brother’s – Matti’s – who is a really funny guy.

After the funeral I rang to the Ferguson’s owner, but he had already sold it. Damn, this tractor was close and although a bit more expensive  – 1200 euros – than I had imagined my budget, it was supposedly in perfect running order. (But I found it again…)

Then there was one Nuffield which I went to see – twice. On the first time I pondered why the tractor seemed so powerless and suspected that the flat tire was the reason. On the second time I went to see it with my friend who is a tractor expert and he found out that it had one dead cylinder. No buy.

Then I saw that the Ferguson was back for sale. For the same price as previous time, too. The new owner, who emerged to be the previous owner’s work mate, wanted to sell his recent purchase (he had traded the tractor for his enduro bike). This time I did not hesitate. I went to see it next morning and test drove it. It seemed perfect. There were some small imperfections, but really small for this price. The guy even had a dolly and loaned it to me. I paid the tractor and pulled it with the dolly to my place right away. My friend came to see it (the expert) and agreed that the tractor is in a really good condition and reckoned that it hadn’t been driven much. In short, a great buy. Additionally, I love the tractor, because it’s so small. It’s not much bigger than a garden tractor (but has a heck of a lot more uses) and is very handy in small places.

I needed at least a drag for the tractor (I’m not sure if that’s the right word. I mean a back plate for pulling and pushing dirt or snow). So I ”kind of” made it myself. I bought some metal with some ready to use parts from a scrap yard and put them together… That’s a long story, but after two days of welding and grinding I had a drag which I can turn forward or backward and in a few angles too.

So far I haven’t done much with the tractor. Pulled some dirt and crap away from the school which I’m renovating and once cleaned the front yard of snow (we haven’t had that so much yet, but there’s probably more to come soon…). But I have a tractor anyway.


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