John Deere GP Wide Tread Completes Pair
Vintage tractor collector matches GP Standard with GP Wide Tread
Finished late last summer, the GP has already been to the state fair, and will probably go to a show at Waverly, Neb., this summer.
Photo by David Miller
David Miller was chasing gas engines at a sale in a Wyoming when a funny thing happened.
"I went to the sale because I was interested in some gas engines. And I got six of them. But I also got a tractor," he said. "It was just going way too cheap."
The tractor – a 1932 John Deere GP wide tread – may not have been on David's shopping list, but it made a good companion to a vintage GP standard he already had.
"It is a rare tractor," he said, "and that makes it more desirable. They only made about 4,000 of them."
The GP in general was not a best-seller, David said.
"It was underpowered and overweight," he said. "And there were quite a few problems with the carburetion."
The bulk of his GP's career was spent mowing hay at the Taylor Ranch in northeast Wyoming. About 10 years ago, the tractor was sold. Restoration efforts had just begun when the new owner died.
When David got ahold of it 18 months ago, his work was cut out for him.
"It was fairly complete," he said. "But I had to fix the head and the radiator, and there was a slight problem with the transmission. And I had to cut a rear wheel apart, and re-weld it. Basically, I just tore it down and sandblasted the whole thing."
The restoration went well, he said.
"There's nothing I'd do different," he said. "It turned out well; I like it."
He finished the Deere in time to take it to the antique tractor exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair. But the project is not yet totally completed.
"It came with a mower that's kind of different," he said. "And I'd like to restore it. It's on my list of things to do. From what I've been able to dig up, it's one of the first PTO-driven tractor mowers built by John Deere."
David's rebuilt some implements before. But restoration of the mower would be a major undertaking, he said.
"A lot of things on it are broken and welded up," he said. "I'd at least like to make it look like it's never been welded."
He's never seen another mower like it. "So I don't even know what's missing from it," he said with a laugh.
Still, the biggest challenge of the project, he said, was getting the tractor home from Wyoming.