Restoring a John Deere Model A

Son restores his father's 1941 John Deere Model A

| January 1999

  • Cal Morton on a family heirloom, his father's 1942 John Deere.
    Out for a spin: Cal Morton on a family heirloom, his father's 1942 John Deere.
  • When Cal takes his Deere out for a spin, he often leaves it running while parked, to the delight of
    When Cal takes his Deere out for a spin, he often leaves it running while parked, to the delight of "old timers" who enjoy its distinctive roar.
  • Cal Morton's John Deere Model A was purchased new by his father in 1941. Decades later, Cal rescued the tractor from abandonment, and restored it.
    Cal Morton's John Deere Model A was purchased new by his father in 1941. Decades later, Cal rescued the tractor from abandonment, and restored it.

  • Cal Morton on a family heirloom, his father's 1942 John Deere.
  • When Cal takes his Deere out for a spin, he often leaves it running while parked, to the delight of
  • Cal Morton's John Deere Model A was purchased new by his father in 1941. Decades later, Cal rescued the tractor from abandonment, and restored it.

The cadence of an approaching two-cylinder John Deere tractor is a legendary sound. Sometimes it's a "pop-pop"; sometimes it's a deeper sound nearer to a roar. Cal Morton's JD Model A is an example of the latter. 

Morton, who lives in Fairfax, Mo. (population: about 800), is the proud owner of a 1942 Model A. His father, the late Ken Morton, bought it new in the fall of '41. Cal rescued the tractor from a spot behind a barn near Rockford, Ill., where it had been parked since 1980.

"I went back and pulled it out of a weedy fencerow," says Cal. "Right off I noticed that bees had built a nest between the battery box and the dash gauges. But some things still looked good."

"The A was the only piece of new machinery that Dad ever bought, paying $1,100 for it. He used it for all his farming operations," he says. "Then, in '49, he bought a Minneapolis-Moline tractor which was somewhat more powerful, and had all the hydraulics on it. So the A was shifted to lighter duties, including loader work, pulling wagons and the like. That's probably a reason why it didn't have to be rebored, which is usually the case."



Cal's father had told him the A was one of the first two six-gear Model A's shipped to Rockford. Ken Morton had bought one of the two from the Pagel & Kleickman dealership there. It was factory equipped with an electric starter and lights. Before 1941, the A had four gears, with electrical accessories first offered as factory options in 1940.

"I'd like to find its Rockford twin to possibly restore," says Cal.



SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube

Classifieds