A Challenging Project: General GG Tractor Restoration
(Page 2 of 3)
Eye of the beholder
At a junkyard Cameron found a piece anyone else would have simply called "old iron." To him and his granddad, it was a thing of beauty: a B.F. Avery - probably an Avery Model A - that looked very much like their General tractor. From their new donor tractor, they took the frame and a variety of other parts that appeared identical to those on the General, and most bolted right on.
Putting the parts on proved to be a challenging learning experience, Cameron says. "We had to figure out where parts went, and when we weren't sure, we had to try by word of mouth to figure it out from someone else. We had no clue what color to paint it. The calendar picture helped us some. But we really didn't have any booklet or instructions or anything like that to figure out what goes where. We really could use a lot of the Avery parts, but some things we had to push around a little bit to get them to fit."
Cameron worked on his tractor after school and during extended school breaks. "It was usually cold enough that I wanted to be inside, and could work on it in a little heated bay, sometimes for the entire week," he says. "Good thing I wasn't older and had a job where I had to start thinking, 'Oops, what did I get into here?' I had time on my hands and didn't need to be done with the project anytime soon, although as a 4-H project, I did need to get it done in time for the county fair."
The most difficult part of the tractor restoration, he says, was the lack of knowledge about the tractor. "We knew it had been made by Cleveland Tractor Company in 1942 and 1943 (some references say 1939-1942)," he says. "We kind of forgot what parts went where because it had been taken apart and sat for so long, so that was a real learning process."
Finding parts was another challenge. "Two pieces of sheet metal that come out from the grille had rusted out, so we had to have these unique pieces of sheet metal made and bent," Cameron explains. "We had the engine rebuilt too."
Cameron's mother underwrote the project. "That's how I got the parts I needed and I did all the work on it," Cameron says. "Plus, I'm the one who uses the tractor now for hauling stuff. We have a small wagon we haul around. We could use it to haul big stuff, but we don't really want to take a chance. Sometimes we just use it in parades, or take it to shows."