Trash Into Treasure: A Graham-Bradley Tractor Restoration

He had always been fond of its streamlined design, so when a dilapitated Graham-Bradley tractor turned up Joe and Bev DeVreize took it on as a tractor restoration project.


| December 2002



Graham-Bradley tractor restoration

Joe and Bev DeVreize of Coal Valley, IL worked hard on the tractor restoration that made this Graham-Bradley tractor functional again. They purchased it in 1998.

Photo: Farm Collector Magazine Staff

A single additional Graham-Bradley tractor appeared at this year's Old Threshers Reunion, along with the Hadley family's four. It belongs to Joe and Bev DeVreize of Coal Valley, IL, and Joe says he thinks it's a 1938.

He bought it as 'a pile of junk' in November 1998 at a Reynolds, IL, sale, and he and Bev tackled the tractor restoration themselves.

As a youth, Joe says, he was attracted to the Graham-Bradleys' streamlined look, and their speed. 'I was about 14 years old and a guy had a brand new one. It was a '38. He did a lot of custom work with a threshing machine. I helped another fellow, but I can remember that guy threshing. I'd also go down to Moline (IL) to the Sears store and see the new Graham-Bradleys in the parking lot. I thought they were neat. That tractor was ahead of its time.'

He says the official top speed was about 22 mph, 'but depending on the size of the rear tires, the tractor would go as fast as 30 to 35 in road gear. I've never checked this one; it goes fast enough for me.'

He and Bev had to tear the whole back end out of theirs. Joe did the engine work and had a professional mechanic review what he'd done. About the time they brought the engine back home, Joe got sick and had to have five bypasses.

While recovering, 'he wanted to go out to that tractor again,' Bev says, so as soon as they dared, they were back out there, Bev handling tools and Joe providing the instructions.