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Homemade Tractor: Modified Farmall F-12

by James N. Boblenz

Tags: Farmall, homemade tractor, creativity, resourcefulness, farm shows, Florida, James N. Boblenz,

At the Florida Flywheelers swap meet, I came across an unusual tractor called the Chev-All, the creation of David Radius, Kissimmee, Fla.

Actually, it was a homemade tractor using an F-12 Farmall rear end and a 6-cylinder Chevrolet in-line overhead valve engine.

David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All
Clockwise from top: David Radius’ homemade tractor, the Chev-All “6 Minus 3”; the Chev-All’s instrument panel and operating controls; the Chevrolet in-line 6-cylinder engine in which cylinders 1, 2 and 3 have spark plugs but do not have spark plug wires, and cylinders 4, 5 and 6 are the firing plugs; the Chev-All’s unique 3-point hitch arrangement; note the wide front end of the homemade tractor; and a right-side view of the Chev-All. (Click any of the smaller images for a larger version.) David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All David Radius' homemade tractor, the Chev-All

The frame of the Farmall had been cut off just ahead of the bell housing and a wider channel-iron frame had been installed to hold the engine. The tractor had an altogether different front end and steering mechanism than did the original F-12. It was no longer a cultivating tractor. Instead, a wide front end had been installed along with all the necessary steering gears, linkages, tie rods, etc.

To modernize the tractor, an unusual 3-point hitch was installed, sufficiently different from others so as not to cause patent infringement. And most of the controls had been changed, although I noticed that the F-12 hand throttle and foot clutch had been retained. Both hand brake levers had been elongated, making them easier to reach for the operator. Since the engine had an electric starter, an ammeter was added to monitor generating amperage.

Along each side of the hood was “6 Minus 3.” When you looked over the tractor’s engine carefully, you could see that the sparkplug wires had been removed from cylinders 1, 2 and 3. It boggled my mind to try to figure out how this engine could even run with 3 cylinders disconnected. But it did run and it ran well. Sounded quite decent, too.

David is quite a tinkerer and it got me to thinking about some of our great tinkerers in the history of agriculture. There were many:

Tinkerers are still out there working on and adapting machines to fit their individual needs. Simply attend any antique tractor show and you’ll spot an “improvement” to some piece of equipment or another. There were many more at the Florida Flywheelers swap meet, but this is the one that intrigued me the most. You, too, can spot a tinkerer’s creation as you walk down the many rows of equipment. Just keep an eye peeled.