Andrew was invited to display his project at a special exhibit, where he shared his enthusiasm for antique tractors. "I learned from a young age that there is nothing at all like driving a tractor, and to own one myself would just be too cool," he says. "I chose this as my project because compared to anything else I could do, it would best reflect the knowledge I've learned. I will also have an essentially brand new tractor to use on the farm."
South Carolina Teen tackles Farmall Cub restoration for senior project
High school seniors keep an eye on the checklist as they inch toward graduation. Take college entrance exams … schedule senior pictures … order cap and gown … but Andrew Spivey's to-do list included a less-traditional task: Restore antique tractor
At the Greenville technical school, every senior is required to complete a senior project, a year-long study devoted to a topic of the student's choice.
Each student conducts research to answer a question and produces a tangible product representing what he has learned. Throughout the project, the student keeps a portfolio of journals, photos and relevant documentation. Selecting a project topic was the first challenge.
One day, Andrew noticed an old Ferguson for sale on the side of the road. 'The thought hit me like a sack of bricks,' he recalls. 'I absolutely have to do something with tractors! How neat would that be?!?' He based his research on the question 'What goes into restoring an antique tractor?'
Although Andrew grew up around tractors on the farm, he had never restored one. In fact, he had never done any wrenching on that scale. 'I had a strong desire to work on a tractor,' he admits. 'But everyone told me I'd be in over my head … that there was no way I could restore a tractor in a school year without a skilled background in mechanics.' In the end, that advice took the form of a challenge, and his determination was fueled.
As with many life challenges, this one delivered in ways Andrew never could have imagined. He made friends with Cub enthusiasts all over North America, gained confidence in his ability to solve problems and cemented a relationship with his dad. But we get ahead of ourselves. The story begins with a barely running vintage Cub.
A Cub even mom couldn't love
Andrew talked his dad into underwriting the project financially and the two began searching for a likely tractor to restore. The answer came in nearby Anderson, S.C., where they found a Cub complete with implements. The tractor would run, and came with belly mower, sickle mower, discs, grader blade and a 1-bottom plow. Father and son returned home triumphant, but the lady of the house saw things differently.
'Momma didn't think much of it,' Andrew notes.
It was early September. Over the next several months, Andrew set to work disassembling and cleaning. 'An old greasy piece of machinery doesn't look like it'd take much work to clean until you get down on your knees and try scrubbing it some,' he says.
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