Before & After: Restoration of a 1929 Rumely 20-30W
After a complete renovation, Ted Shultz's 20-30W Rumely is ready for the show circuit.
Photo by G. Wayne Walker Jr.
Ted Shultz has been involved in enough restoration projects to know at least one absolute: "Almost everything you restore will fight you, to a certain extent," he said. The 1929 Rumely 20-30W Oil Pull he's completing is no exception.
"We've done an awful lot of work on it," he said. "When we got it, the valve keepers were the only thing missing. At one time, it'd had a buzz saw on the front of it (the last owner used it mainly to cut wood with), so we had to take that off. The draw bar, and one steering end, were busted.
"It had set out for most of its life," he said. "It wasn't pitted up, but it was rusty. I don't think we had to fill anything in. It did have a little bit of the original paint - olive drab - so it might be an early one."
Ted, a fiberglass fabricator specialist at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Waverly, Neb., is the third owner of the nearly 70-year-old classic 20-30W. It was one of his first collectible tractors.
"When I bought it in 1975 (for $1,750), I didn't know what it was worth," he said.
Ted didn't touch the Rumely for nearly 15 years. In the last three years, though, he's rebuilt nearly everything on it.
"There had been mice in the top," he said. "They'd built a nest and ate away a whole section of the radiator. It took me a month to rebuild just the radiator." As time passed, Ted made progress on the project. He began to know the tractor; began to almost understand it. "My son had it running in his shop once," he said. "We tried again this weekend to get it running, and we've got some pretty good blisters on our hands. It fought us. Every tractor, every engine, has its own personality."
And the Rumely? Ted responded without a moment's hesitation.
"It's a female."
Ted's son helped with mechanical work; Ted handles the bodywork, sandblasting and painting. It didn't take long to decide on a color scheme.
"Most 1929 Rumely Oil Pulls were battleship gray," Ted said. "Very ugly. But this one's been painted in the original green - olive drab - and black."
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