CO-OP E3 Tractor Keeps it Real

A 1947 CO-OP E3 tractor shines with the patina of age.

| May 2017

One person’s trash is another person’s restored treasure. That’s sort of the story of my life. I seem to find things in all sorts of states of repair (or disrepair, as the case may be). I’m sort of the pied piper of old stuff. These things actually find me!

One acquisition is my 1947 CO-OP E3 tractor. A friend of mine on a neighboring island had it in his collection. He figured he would never get to it, and thus, like most of my friends figure, “I’ll offer it to Jeff. Jeff will take on anything!”

To make a long story short, I bought the tractor and my friend delivered it to my shop. It arrived in its 70-year-old work clothes, dirty and oily.

In a column in the March 2017 issue of Farm Collector, my friend Josephine Roberts wrote of the virtue of keeping things original, namely old iron. She and I have many times discussed whether it is better to leave a piece of old iron original. As we all know, these machines are original only once.

Such is the case with my CO-OP E3. In fact, she suggested I try linseed oil as a preservative, and that was a great point. The oil gave the tractor a bit of sheen and brought up some of the old color.

With respect to the tractor’s reliability, I have rebuilt the starter and generator. I had the radiator flushed and pressure-tested and the fuel tank cleaned and lined. Hoses, carburetor, belts and spark plugs were all she needed to make a reliable, drivable tractor out of her.