First Things: 1928 Hart-Parr Restoration

Hart-Parr restoration leads to family fixation on vintage tractors.

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Father's Day is still a few weeks off, but an article in this issue by Hank Will celebrates the best qualities of dear old dad. Charles Shane, for one, has found a way to strengthen family ties, have fun and preserve an important part of America's agricultural tradition.

Facing retirement from the family farm operation, Charles looked back as he looked forward. A 1928 Hart-Parr presented the ideal challenge as he shifted gears to a new life stage. Exercising patriarchal wisdom, though, he knew it wasn't a road he planned to travel alone. Instead, he roped his sons and grandson into the project as well. Several tons of old iron later, three generations of the Shane family are actively involved in restoring vintage tractors … and they're having the time of their life. "We spend a lot of time working together every day," says Charles' grandson, Perry. "But when there's a tractor in the shop, it's always fun."

Old iron takes on a very special patina when it brings generations together, and this issue is evidence of that. Daniel Morgan and his dad, Mike, have been working on tractors together since "before I remember," Daniel says. Bill Thomasson still parades his father's 1912 Samson at shows. Kenny Sunderland spends countless hours crafting scale-model threshers exclusively for his sons.

The common denominator? A multi-generational activity enjoyed by all: nothing more complicated than plain old fun. Stop to smell the roses, grab the gusto - whatever you call it, the message is clear: Life is for living. It seems simple, but sometimes it takes a father's wisdom to make the simple obvious.

It's a lesson that resonates in other ways as well. We all know folks in this hobby who are as happy as pigs in clover. Take a tip from them. If you find yourself with your nose a bit too close to the old iron grindstone, consumed by self-imposed deadlines, correct paint colors, flaws only a microbiologist could spot - take a breather! Remember: this is supposed to be fun!

Enjoy your hobby … and this month, raise a toast to dads everywhere, and the lessons they've taught us!

Leslie McManus, editor
lmcmanus@ogdenpubs.com