Old Iron and Ice Cream

Follow along as the Wall’s detail and show off their one of a kind 1928 John Deere engine that’s been transformed into an ice cream freezer.

| March 2020

Dean Wall with his 1928 Ford Model A and Model A box trailer hauling an ice cream freezer powered by a 1928 John Deere Model E gas engine. He already had a 1929 Ford pickup when he got a chance at the 1928 Ford basket case. “The 1928 model intrigued me because it had the title,” Dean says, “and it was a challenge.”

Kristie and Dean Wall have two great passions: rural life and family. Married 46 years with four children and 12 grandchildren, the couple resides in the small village of Sand Lake, Michigan, located about 30 miles north of Grand Rapids. They have operated Dean’s Landscaping & Excavating since 1977.

Dean collects and restores antique Ford trucks, but they don’t gather dust in a museum. At least one of the relics – a restored 1928 Ford Model A closed-cab pickup – is used to transport a mobile homemade ice cream operation. Using a 1928 John Deere hit-and-miss engine to crank a huge freezer, the pair dishes out free, homemade ice cream to mark special occasions within their community and their family.

Dean’s collection includes 14 Ford Model A and Model T trucks. Some have been completely restored, while others run and drive but are in more of an original state. All have Henry Ford’s original 40hp 4-cylinder engine, and three have matching serial numbers. “I hate to use the word rare, but they are hard to find and are not as available as some of the other models,” he says. “These pickups tended to be very durable and people just ran them into the ground until there was nothing left of them.”

A fine pairing: The 1928 John Deere engine and an ice cream freezer in their debut performance, making the first batch of ice cream.

Restoring a basket case

The 1928 Model A turned up at an estate sale roughly 5 miles from the Walls’ home. The assortment of items had belonged to an avid collector. “He died and someone who knew Dean and his interest wanted to help his daughters out by having Dean come in and buy it all,” Kristie explains.


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