Wonderfully White

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The white demonstrator model.

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Dan and Deb Ramsier live on a farm near the northern Ohio town of Seville with their sons Garrett and Gabriel. Dan called one day and said simply, 'I would like you to see my special tractor.' When one receives such an offer from an old-iron collector, it's usually wise to accept.

Dan's tractor turned out to be special indeed. It's an International Harvester Super A demonstration model made in 1950, painted white. The company manufactured that tractor and many like it to celebrate its mid-century promotion. Dan first noticed the rust-covered tractor, a one-row cultivator and a rare set of two-way plows tucked inside a collapsed shed along his mail route, and he bonded on sight with the Farmall.

As luck would have it, he learned that the tractor owner's wife worked at a nearby Post Office, and that the owner's name was 'Corky' Kephart. When Dan asked about the tractor, Corky explained that the shed collapsed after a tornado, but the tractor suffered no major damage. The worst result was that the Farmall was exposed to the weather after years of shed life, but Dan was determined to give the tractor a new home.

On his first visit, Dan was disappointed to learn that the tractor wasn't for sale, although Corky told him to check back. During subsequent visits, Corky again refused to sell the Farmall, but Dan didn't give up hope that he'd someday own the tractor. Just when Dan began to wonder if his dream would ever come true, he approached Corky once more. Four months after he first spied the rusted hulk, Corky said Dan could buy the tractor, but only if he helped remove the collapsed shed. With thoughts of that soon-to-be-restored Farmall to inspire him, Dan was more than happy to help haul away the shed and reveal his tractor.

In the process, Dan learned that Corky bought the tractor new in 1950 from a dealer in nearby Copley, Ohio. Even though the tractor was completely rusted, Dan noticed a small patch of white paint on the underside as they loaded the tractor onto a trailer. Perplexed by the discovery, he asked Corky about the white paint. When Corky explained that the tractor was entirely white when purchased new, Dan could hardly believe that he'd found a rare IH Farmall Super A white demonstration tractor.

The company produced white-painted versions of its C, Super A and Cub tractors in 1950 as a special promotion. Each dealer was allotted one white tractor to sell, although some dealers repainted the tractors traditional Farmall red. Buyers were free to choose.

The Model A's body was deteriorated from years of work and exposure, but the tractor was mechanically sound. The tractor's restoration lasted from November 1999 to March 2000 with help from his father, brothers and friends. On winter weekends, the team disassembled, degreased, brushed and sanded every component.

After the tractor was sandblasted, Dan repainted every part. Dan's brother, Fred, and Fred's son-in-law, Kevin Scheibe, took the power train, hood, grille and gas tank to a shop where Kevin, an experienced auto body technician, applied a fresh coat of paint. The Super A restoration was finished on March 10, 2000, just a few months after the tractor's 50th birthday.

The white Farmall was a natural fit for Dan's collection, because IH tractors were always important farm tools for Dan's family. His father, Nelson Ramsier, owned more than 50 IH tractors on the family dairy farm, and the family still uses 25 of those machines for farming. Nelson's first tractor was a 10-20 hp, gear-driven McCormick-Deering with steel wheels. He still has a restored F-14, as well as a 1935 Allis-Chalmers WC, a John Deere D and John Deere H, a McCormick 100 spreader and a 1937 Oliver 70 that awaits restoration.

After restoring the tractor, Dan wasted no time putting the freshly white-painted Super A back to work plowing his garden. Like most proud old-iron collectors, Dan can't wait to show off his tractor at a show. In his case, that's the Pike Steam, Gas, Horse and Construction Show, Aug. 8-10 in Brownsville, Pa., and at the 14th Annual Red Power Roundup, June 26-28 in Bloomburg, Pa. For more information about Dan's find, write him at 3600 Schaub Road, Seville, OH 44273, or call Dan at (330) 335-5777. FC

-Jan Shellhouse is a freelance writer and vintage tractor enthusiast who lives in Shelby, Ohio.

Even though the tractor was completely rusted, Dan noticed a small patch of white paint on the underside as they loaded the tractor onto a trailer. Perplexed by the discovery, he asked Corky about the white paint. When Corky explained that the tractor was entirely white when purchased new, Dan could hardly believe that he'd found a rare IH Farmall Super A white demonstration tractor.