Restored 1958 John Deere 45 Combine Heads to the Fields

Collector restores combine for its 50th birthday

| January 2009

Combines loom large among Herb Bohrer’s earliest memories.

“I was probably 6 years old the first time I rode with my dad in the combine,” he recalls. “It was an old International. We used it to harvest flax, and I can remember sitting in the grain bin, having flax pour in on me. I’ve just always enjoyed combining; I’ve always been interested in them.”

So it comes as no surprise that a 1958 John Deere 45 is among Herb’s restoration projects. Completed in early summer of 2008, his combine marked its 50th birthday in rare style. “You don’t see many restored combines,” Herb notes, “but this one is field ready and operating.”

Herb, who lives in Springfield, Idaho, bought the combine from neighbor George Jackson in 2002. George bought the piece “nearly new” and used it to harvest about 200 acres – mostly wheat – every year until 1984. After he retired, the combine was abandoned to the yard. “He never did shed it,” Herb says. “But our climate is dry. It’s only been the last few years that you see people shedding equipment out here.”

In some respects, restoration of the 45 was easier than expected. “It didn’t take much to get it going,” Herb says. “It didn’t show that much wear: It was more rust than anything. It needed a new coil, it had a water leak in the cooling manifold and the radiator wasn’t any good; bearings, sprockets, that kind of thing.”

He worked on it, on and off, for a couple of years. “I sandblasted the header, did tin work, primed it and put it in the shop,” Herb says. “I’m really hesitant to say I ‘restored’ it. I painted over some grease and I didn’t try to fix all the rust spots. But it’s pretty well original. The decals on the reel bats aren’t original: I just thought they’d look nice. In general, it turned out good and it was fun to work on.”

He finished in early July, just in time to enter the combine in the Pioneer Day parade in nearby Aberdeen, Idaho. “George – who’s 92 – drove it in the parade and he really enjoyed it,” Herb says. “It was quite a hit. A lot of people commented that their dads had used combines like that.”

But the parade was just a test drive. Herb’s true goal was to take a photo of the 45 in action, working alongside a pair of 2007 John Deere 9760 STS combines. When the big day arrived, Herb took the 45 out, got everything ready, cut a little grain and got in position to cut with the new combines. Then, as luck would have it, the 45’s clean grain conveyor chain broke. It takes time to get parts for a 50-year-old combine, and by the time that happened, the season had ended.

jan hendrik gerard meijerink
5/25/2009 5:05:59 PM

i have a combine john deere 45 and to be Restored and i want to sail him the prises 1.500,00 us dolars.