Man Restores Cockshutt 30 After Fire

Wisconsin collector brings Cockshutt 30 back from disaster.

| September 2013

Rodger Zupon does not scare easily. When he decides to restore a tractor, neither stuck pistons nor dinged metal, flat tires nor missing hood shrouds give him pause. The semi-retired Antigo, Wis., logger and truck driver even took on a tractor that had been through a fire.

"A few years ago I found a Cockshutt 30 that had been in a fire,” he says. “There was a fire in a machine shed, and everything in it  including the tractor had been burned. The owner, Gary Muench, decided he didn’t want to do anything with it. He said I could have the tractor.”

So Rodger lugged it home and began working on it, with Gary’s parting words ringing in his ears. “He said if I ever decided to sell it, he wanted the first chance to buy it back.”

But that seemed unlikely; the Cockshutt was completely burned. Rodger took everything off it, sorted through his parts pile, started adding usable parts and set it back together. “Some things were warped, so I had to put on different sheet metal, a different shroud for the hood, new radiator and replace some of the other pieces,” he says. “I had extra parts for tractors like that so it was no big deal. But it was a challenge to get it running again.”

He also had to put on a different carburetor and distributor. When he was finished with everything, he still didn’t know if the engine was damaged. When he turned the key, the Cockshutt fired right up. Seeing the tractor restored and running, the former owner knew he had a winner and wanted it back  so Rodger sold it to him. “That was all right,” he says. “I worked on it during winter weekends, so it gave me a nice winter project.”

The Cockshutt kid

Rodger grew up on a dairy farm using his dad’s tractors: CO-OP and Cockshutt models. When Rodger was 7, his father came home from an auction with a CO-OP E3 tractor. “That was the start of the CO-OP and Cockshutt tractors for us,” he says. “That was pretty much all we drove on the farm, except for a small John Deere. I learned to drive on the E3 once I could reach the clutch pedal.” Except for the paint job, he says, CO-OP E series tractors and Cockshutts are the same tractor. Both were made in Canada.