A Peerless Pedal Tractor

Customized Ford 8N pedal tractor dazzles with detail.

| January 2006

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    Above: Gene Gregory with his customized Ford Model 8N. Custom features include a Comfort Cab, half-track, lowered profile, lights and grille.
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    Left: This beautifully appointed Ford Model 8N features a half-track with floating front track wheel and molded top secured to the sides.
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    Right: Note the Comfort Cab’s custom features: steering wheel spinner, gauges on the panel, gear shift knob and plastic covering the front windshield. The original Ertl pedal tractor was equipped with a plastic steering wheel and seat. Gene Gregory replaced each with steel versions. The rear opening is designed like that on the original. The curtain, fastened in the “up” position with straps and buckles, could be released in bad weather.

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Craftsman extraordinaire is the phrase that best describes Gene Gregory. His distinct craft of customizing pedal tractors has blossomed over the years. Today, Gene's pedal tractors have been acclaimed by the most avid collectors as peerless. A Ford 8N is the most recent addition to his fleet of uniquely customized pedals.

Gene lives in farm country in north-central Ohio. While he has no practical farm experience, he's gained an appreciation for field machinery while observing farmers working the land. Inspired, he began restoring and collecting antique tractors years ago, before the hobby became popular. Then came a passion for pedal tractors. He subsequently liquidated the antique tractor collection.

One-of-a-kind Ford 8N

While attending an antique tractor show in Portland, Ind., Gene saw a photo of a unique 1948 Ford 8N: an original factory-built tractor, with several after-market features. The tractor was equipped with a V-shaped snow blade on the front, and was traction-assisted by half-tracks.

On the drive home from the show, Gene pondered the photograph. "That was a uniquely equipped tractor," he recalls. "I began visualizing how it would look as a pedal tractor. It inspired a challenge, and the creative juices kicked in. I just started tinkering, and this is what resulted."

When Gene tinkers, it is an art form. He does not customize something without considerable forethought and planning. The thoroughness of Gene's craftsmanship shows through in his beautifully customized pedal tractors.

Details under the paint

The first challenge was to find a pedal tractor that resembled the Ford 8N. Ertl manufactured a nice Ford Model 8N, but it had a higher profile than the real tractor. Gene made do. "With Ertl having the only available pedal tractor, I had to work with it," he says. "I began to cut and shave to accomplish the lower profile."