Army 'veteran'

| April 2002

Butch Simmons of Holts Summit, Mo., discovered his rare 1953 Massey-Harris Army tractor less than 20 miles from his home and under a coat of industrial yellow paint.

He'd been collecting Masseys for a couple of years and was trying to track down a Model 44 when someone told him, 'I know where there's a yellow Massey-Harris.' He didn't think the company ever made yellow tractors but called the owner, who thought he had an 'industrial' model.

'I went out and looked at it, and he had the motor torn down,' Butch said. 'It was sitting there with four bald tires and a sorry look on its face. The tractor was in very sorry condition. The hood and grill were smashed, and the tires were smashed.'

What intrigued Butch, though, was that beneath the yellow paint, he could see green. And some decals were bleeding through too. 'When I looked at it, I knew it was different.'

He paid $400 for the tractor, and by the time he picked it up a couple of weeks later, he had figured out what a treasure it was.

Butch learned the tractor was one of only 25 made by Massey-Harris for the U.S. Army in 1953 at Racine, Wis.; the contract date was Oct. 1 of that year, and the tractors were produced to pull trailers, generators and the occasional airplane.