Nearly 30 years of Farmall history are represented in the three restorations Jim Dugan of Madill, Okla.,
Restorations keep former farmer linked to rural life
Jim Dugan's association with Farmall tractors began long before he started doing Farmall restorations in 1992. When Jim was a boy, his father owned an F-12 and an F-30, his uncles owned an H and an M, and in the 1970s, Jim owned his own M, which he used for such chores as grinding feed for his 60-sow hog operation near Miami, Okla. 'Farmalls are what I grew up with,' he says.
After hard times hit in the early 1980s, Jim sold his hog farm and moved to Madill, where he works today as a maintenance and transportation supervisor for the Madill public schools. In his spare time, though, he keeps his ties to farming strong by collecting and restoring his favorite vintage tractor models. 'I get homesick for the farm sometimes,' Jim says, 'and I do miss that part of my life, but restoring these old tractors does keep me near them at least.'
He started out with a 1928 Regular on iron wheels and moved on to an F-20 and a 200. Next, he plans to tackle an H.
All of them are taken on as winter projects, so Jim can work away in the 36-by 50-foot shop he shares with his son, Curtis, while the snow and cold winds are blowing outside.
Here's a rundown of what he's accomplished so far:
1928 Farmall Regular
'I originally found out about the Regular from my brother, Jerry, who drives a backhoe in Chetopa (Kan.),' Jim says. 'He does work all over, and he noticed this tractor that had been setting out for a long time in a junk fencerow.' Jerry told Jim about the Regular in 1992, and soon, the brothers went to talk with the owner about buying it.
The tractor, which Jim bought for $50, had been sitting in the fencerow 40 years. He says the transaction pleased the former owner, who wanted to get rid of the machine, and gave him his first winter project. 'The Regular was one of the first tractors made to do a variety of chores,' he explains. 'Before the Regular came out, tractors were used for specific purposes: one was for plowing, another was for cultivating and so on. This model would do it all. That's what the name means, Farmall - it farms all.'
Jerry trucked the Regular to Chetopa, and Jim brought it on to the machine shop in Madill. After Jim got a serious look at the tractor, he realized stuck pistons were its biggest problem. 'I soaked them with penetrating oil for two weeks,' he says. 'Every day I would hit 'em a lick or two with a hammer and a block of wood, to try to free them up. Eventually they let go.'
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