Ready to Work: Restoring a 1948 Farmall C

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A 1951 Farmall Super A with a 5-foot International blade, another of Steve's restoration projects.
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Steve Janisch (left) and his son, Kenny, with their ready-to-work 1948 Farmall C.
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Original owner's manuals for the McCormick corn planter and fertilizer unit.
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Bird's eye view of the McCormick hill planter and fertilizer unit (complete with original boxes) on the Janisches' Farmall C.

In anyone else’s hands, the 1948 Farmall C restored by Steve Janisch and his son, Kenny, would have been nothing more than a donor. “The engine was seized when we got it,” Steve recalls. “It had sat for eight years and water had run down the exhaust. The fenders had fallen off and the grille was caved in. Most people would have said it was a parts tractor.”

But the two Pardeeville, Wis., men saw things differently. And with $125 in the purchase price, they didn’t have much to lose – but they had plenty to do. They put in a new engine and rebuilt every component. They tore the tractor apart and sandblasted every part. Nothing escaped their attention. “I’ll bet I’ve got 50 hours in that grille alone,” Steve says. They work as a team: Steve does all the sheet metal; Kenny does the rest.

Now restored, the Farmall runs like a top and looks better than new. Most collectors would tuck it away inside, with only occasional excursions to parades and shows. But that wasn’t what the father-and-son duo had in mind. The Janisches were looking for a more direct link to the past. And that link turned out to be a 2-row planter.

“We bought a 2-row planter, sight unseen, from a man in Ohio,” Kenny says. “It’s about a 1948-49 vintage planter, and it would also fit on a Farmall H or an M, but we’ve never seen one on.” The seller didn’t have a lot of information on the McCormick planter and fertilizer unit, but he did give one useful tip. “He said to watch your fingers when you put it on,” Steve says with a knowing smile.

The Janisches found owner’s manuals for the implements, restored the planter and fertilizer unit and installed them. Then it was time to go to work. “We planted six acres of corn with it,” Kenny says. “You might be able to plant 15 acres, on a good day.”  FC

For more information: Steve Janisch, W7188 Patchin Rd., Pardeeville, WI 53954; (608) 429-3080.

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