Case Model S Left Lasting Impression

Let’s Talk Rusty Iron: Case Model S was first love

| October 2011

Probably it was the summer after my senior year in high school. A neighbor, Thornton Harn, decided to buy a combine and a pickup baler and do custom work. He got a new Case A-6 combine, which he took charge of and pulled with a Case DC tractor. The baler was also a new Case, the kind that required two people to ride and poke and tie wires. A well-used Farmall F-14 tractor was assigned to the baler. 

Thornton hired me to drive the Farmall F-14, while one of his sons and another boy rode the thing to do wire tying duty. We were each paid only a couple or three cents per bale – I don’t remember exactly – but we were young and had a good time, although that old Farmall F-14 needed more power. I remember one farmer we baled for who had a steep hillside that the F-14 couldn’t quite manage, so he loaned me his brand new Brockway tractor and I was thrilled to get to operate one of the rare Brockway tractors when new.  

Too, the Farmall F-14, with its 3 mph top gear, was excruciatingly slow on the road between jobs and I coasted down every slight downgrade we came to. Eventually Thornton bought a nearly new Case SO, without the orchard sheet metal, to replace the Farmall F-14.

I loved that little Case. It was easy to drive, ran a decent 10 mph on the road, and had enough power to handle the baler on the steep Pennsylvania hills in our area. I’ve always remembered the SO fondly and, when I was bitten by the tractor collecting bug, kept my eye out for a similar machine.

Found along the road 

In the late 1980s, I saw a little 1948 Case Model S sitting along the road not far from home and wearing a “For Sale” sign. I wanted that tractor! But I was on my way to the airport for a business trip and had no time to stop. Figuring the thing would be gone by the time I returned, I called my lady friend (soon to become my wife) Nancy and asked her to hotfoot it out there and put some money down on the tractor.

Nancy did, and the Case Model S was mine. It was in pretty good shape, but I eventually fixed a few things, found some headlights for it and repainted the tractor. The Case Model S was taken to a number of shows during the 1990s, and was a joy to plow with at the occasional plowing match I was able to attend.