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Fred learned from Whitman that the tractor's original color was dark green, so he took a sampling of paint chips over and Whitman picked out the closest shade. Later, Fred found a little spot of original color on a covered area between the engine and gas tank, and it matched perfectly with Whitman's selection.
Fred calls the Shelby a 'stand-up' tractor where driving is concerned. 'If you sit down, you can't see the front wheels.' It's loud and noisy too, he adds, but its weight makes it very safe: 'That huge engine makes it heavy on the front end; you'd never roll this one.'
Two years ago, he paraded his restored Shelby at the annual Shelby, Ohio, Bicycle Festival. In connection with his appearance there, he offered a donation to the Shelby Museum for any information on other Shelbys still in existence. The Shelby Daily Globe published his appeal, and according to a July 13, 2000, article in that newspaper, three reports were received. One was confirmed by a photograph; it came from the Catons.
Matt and Fred both say Shelby tractors look a lot like several other vintage brands, including Huber, Lawson, Illinois, Russell and Heider, but they also say that on close examination, major differences exist between them all. Matt notes, 'We have a Huber 20-36 and the only thing that is the same on it is the Waukesha engine, although the Shelby's engine is much smaller in size.'
-For more information about Fred's Shelby, contact him at 13223 County Rd. 10-3, Lyons, OH 43533; (419) 923-5334; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jan Shellhouse is a freelance writer and antique farm toy collector who lives in Shelby, Ohio.
Catons' Shelby a work in progress
The Shelby tractor owned by Robert, Helen and Matt Caton of Meyersdale, Pa., is identified by its brass tractor tag as a '9-18 model C, serial no. 137, made in 1919.' Its original Waukesha motor and two transmissions remain intact, according to Matt, who is working on a restoration of the tractor. With only one transmission, he explains, the tractor couldn't pull a 2-bottom plow, so two transmissions were provided.
According to Ohio State University tests done in the early 1920s that Matt has researched, the 9-18 weighed 3,600 pounds and had a plowing speed of 1-3/4 miles per hour, using two 14-inch plows on former wheat ground. (The 15-30s weighed in at 5,000 pounds.)
The Catons' Shelby previously belonged to a distant relative and was used mostly in a custom baling operation from the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s in the Berlin, Pa., area. Robert Caton bought it for $65 in the early 1970s, used it for a couple of years for general chores and then parked it.