Cockshutt Crazy

A Wisconsin man’s collection includes two ultra-rare Cockshutt tractors, including a Golden Arrow.


| March 2018


Gary Rasmussen got involved with old iron and Cockshutt tractors at the same time. His father, Melvin, bought a Cockshutt Model 40 in 1951 to use for logging in the Wisconsin woods.

“I grew up on our dairy farm, and ran mile after mile in the woods hooking and unhooking the skidding tongs,” Gary says, “so I also learned how to take apart those old Cockshutt tractors, and put them together again.”

In the 1990s, Gary’s brother Roy told him about the International Cockshutt Club, Inc. (www.cockshutt.com). “That’s how I got involved in antique power,” he says. In April 1998, on another tip from his brother, the Wittenberg, Wisconsin, man attended an auction where a 1957 Cockshutt Golden Arrow tractor was being sold. “At that point I’d never heard of a Golden Arrow,” Gary admits. “But I went to the auction, examined the tractor a couple of days early and paid a lot of money to get it.”

The tractor was not in running condition. When Gary got it home and started monkeying with it, he found it had compression, so he knew the engine was good. He figured out that the points in the distributor were broken, and he got the tractor running.

Going down to nothing

At that point, Gary really went to work, removing the engine and cleaning it up. “I am very mechanically inclined, having grown up on a farm,” he says, “but I didn’t have to go through the engine or even remove the head or pan.”

He stripped the Golden Arrow down to nothing, removing all the sheet metal, the gas tank and the tires. Then he asked professional painter Jimmy Clemens to pay a visit and give him pointers on painting the tractor. After that, Gary hung the parts, sandblasted the tractor from top to bottom and added several layers of primer and paint. He also added new tires. “I worked day and night on it,” he recalls.