Classic Tractors Become Daily Drivers

Minnesota man enjoys regular outings on tractors from his fleet of Massey-Harris classics.

Because Barry Hatch often takes his tractors on the road, having a good rearview mirror is a necessity. Photo by Nikki Rajala.

Lots of people like to stop in at McDonald’s for a cup of coffee, but most of them don’t pull up on an antique Massey-Harris tractor. For Barry Hatch, though, the 2-mile jaunt on a tractor is a great start to the day. “People come out and take a look,” he says.

Barry enjoys keeping his fleet of eight antiques on the road — in season. “I take the tractors all over,” he says. “We have parades in Princeton every year, so I get my tractors into those.” In the summer, he and likeminded friends occasionally drive tractors to restaurants in neighboring towns. “I have umbrellas for the tractors, and we have wide-open spaces here and good roads, so it’s nice to go,” he says. “These Masseys are real fast, so I can get around.”

Barry’s 1939 101 Super Twin Power Massey-Harris. Photo by Nikki Rajala.

His interest is rooted in nostalgia. “When I was a little boy, my dad, Howard Hatch, bought the first rubber-tired tractor — a 1936 Minneapolis-Moline Model JT — in Mille Lacs County here in Minnesota,” he recalls. “At that time, farmers didn’t think rubber tires would pull anything, but they found out different.”

Barry was born in 1935. His older brother was all of 1 year old then, so their mother had her hands full. “To help out, my dad built a box on the side of that new Moline, and put me in it,” he says. “I went wherever he went, cultivating and doing other work. He said I slept a lot, but I liked to ride. That’s how he babysat me while he did field work. He rode me around on a tractor when I was a baby.”


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