Firsthand: Restored tractor collection shares ties to BF Avery

Michigan tractor collection includes rare BF Avery high-crop model

From left: 1939 General Model GG, 1948 B.F. Avery Model A, 1949 B.F. Avery Model V and a 1953 B.F. Avery/Minneapolis-Moline high-crop.

From left: 1939 General Model GG, 1948 B.F. Avery Model A, 1949 B.F. Avery Model V and a 1953 B.F. Avery/Minneapolis-Moline high-crop.

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Our tractor collection consists of a 1939 Cleveland Tractor Co. General Model GG, 1948 Avery Model A, 1949 Avery Model V, and a 1953 B.F. Avery/Minneapolis-Moline high-crop.  

I bought my high-crop (serial no. 58000037) in 2002 at the B.F. Avery Collectors convention. My friend Jim Parker and I hosted the event in Chesaning, Mich. Bill Williams, whose father was a Minneapolis-Moline dealer in Tupelo, Miss., years ago, found the tractor and brought it to Michigan from Mississippi.

Restoration work took me about a year. The tractor was running when I got it; I rebuilt the transmission, put on new rims and tires and did other basic work. I have learned a little history about the MM high-crops. They only made 150 of them in 1953 in Louisville, Ky. Sales were not good, so a deal was arranged between Minneapolis-Moline and the company’s dealerships, in which the dealer could buy the tractor from MM and was then authorized to cut it down to a row-crop model. Bill’s dad’s dealership cut down six of them. It makes you wonder how many high-crops actually made it to the field. I personally am aware of six high-crops and one cut-down row-crop.

I have taken the high-crop on a couple of tractor tours in Michigan and driven it in several parades and tractor shows, including the 2010 Mid-Michigan Old Tractor Show in Buckley when that club featured Minneapolis-Moline tractors.

The General was built by Cleveland Tractor Co., from 1939-42. The model was sold under the Cletrac, General, Twin Row and CO-OP badges.

In 1942, Cleveland Tractor Co. sold manufacturing rights to B.F. Avery Co., which was already producing implements for the tractor. At that time, the tractor was sold under the name B.F. Avery and Twin Row through Montgomery Ward & Co. catalogs and stores. Montgomery Ward furnished Riverside tires for B.F. Avery tractors. The tractors were also sold by Massey-Harris of Canada, Ltd.

Jim’s 1939 General GG has the wide front end that was sold only by Massey-Harris of Canada, Ltd. The tractor was brought out of Canada in 1980 and I restored in it 1981. It was in running order when it came out of Canada and needed little more than basic clean-up and new paint and tires. The General has been displayed in several shows and parades in Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Canada. “It is a good traveler,” Jim says. FC 

For more information: Wayne Brindley, (989) 445-0189; Jim Parker, (989) 642-2380; parkplce@tir.com. 

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