New Lease on Life for ‘Old Red’

An old 1958 Farmall 130 handed down from a father finds a new home and restoration.

| January 2018

Before restoration.

The 1958 Farmall 130 before restoration. It sat in my yard for several years before I sold it in January 2013.

Photo by J.O. Parker
I was as excited as a kid in a candy store as I watched the newly restored 1958 Farmall 130 tractor roll past in the Montezuma “Let Freedom Ring” Parade.

It looked beautiful with its new coat of red paint. There wasn’t a dent in sight. A smile came across my face as I heard the engine purring. It looked showroom new, and for me, there was a story behind it all.

The tractor, which I lovingly call “Old Red,” was mine for a while. Originally, it was my dad’s tractor; he gave it to me in spring 2009.

A few years back, my dad knew his time on this earth was winding down. Every time my wife, Debbie, and I made a trip to my home state of Oklahoma, Dad would give me things, old things. He gave me old handsaws from his vast collection or other antiques with family ties. He gave me the complete set of reins with the collars that his father used on a team of horses, building roads in Oklahoma during the WPA days. He kept them hanging in the barn on the family farm. His younger brother had passed them on to my dad in the late 1990s.

Dad wanted me to have the tractor with its offset seat and steering wheel. I always had a hard time getting on Old Red. Anytime I drove it, I had to step up from the back and straddle the seat to sit down.

Old Red wasn’t a family heirloom; it was just a small farm tractor that my dad bought in the early 1980s from a neighbor. It was predecessor to the Farmall 140 and replaced the Farmall 100. Farmall built 9,709 of the tractors in Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky, from 1956-58.