| October 2002

Howard K. Holdeman of Bristol, Ind., left, turned an eclectic selection of vintage parts into a working tractor. These photos show his progress; some were taken in August 2001, at the Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association Show in Portland, Ind.

During my various tractor trades, I acquired a John Deere model L tractor chassis with no motor, radiator or hood. 'What to do with it?'

I had a chance to purchase a motor from a John Deere combine model 40, which is a four-cylinder and also has a much larger displacement than the original L engine.

I had a clutch and a bell housing from an old model L Hercules engine that was 2 inches smaller than the bell housing on the model 40 engine.

By having a 1/2-inch steel plate made, the two bell housings would work so I could use the clutch from the old L. The combination clutch housing and the length of the four-cylinder was longer by 4 inches than the old tubular frame would permit, so I cut the tubes and substituted two 3-inch 4.1 steel channels and welded them in place of the tubes. The L drive shaft was eliminated, and I used one end of the old drive shaft. I took a 1985 Mercury car's used rack-and-pinion front steering and adapted it to the front of the tractor. The next step was to remove the old steering box and extend the steering shaft.

I sandblasted the chassis and parts and repainted it John Deere green. I installed new tires and a new, original hood and grille.