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Restoring a One of a Kind Homemade Tractor

Restoring a one of a kind engine. Follow along as a Minnesota man tackles challenge of restoring a homemade tractor.

| May 2020

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George Benson. Photo by Bill Vossler.

When a friend told George Benson that he had the perfect tractor for him, George couldn’t think what he was about to see, and he certainly didn’t expect it to be a case of love at first sight. But on a visit to “Rumely Bill” Krumweide in Drake, North Dakota, he saw a one-of-a-kind piece. “It runs good, with a 6hp 1928 McCormick-Deering gas engine in it,” Bill told him, “but all the rest of it is homemade.’”

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The smokestack, built to resemble that of a Rumely OilPull, was at one point welded. George replaced the welds with bolts. Today, the entire tractor is bolted together. Photo by Bill Vossler 

“As soon as I saw it,” George says, “I loved it.”

The tractor was built by an elderly collector from Drake who specialized in making large-size scale models of old tractors, but whose name is lost to posterity. He sold the tractor as his health deteriorated.



 George, who lives in Fletcher, Minnesota, says Bill told him that the builder didn’t use any plans. “He just used information from his brain,” he says. Built to look like a model of a 1930 14-28 Rumely OilPull, it was created in 1954. “It even sounds like a Rumely,” George says. “It intrigued me, so I bought it and hauled it home. But I didn’t like the way it was. I didn’t think it ran good enough, and it needed a good paint job and restoration.”

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The operator’s platform. The homemade tractor’s steering wheel came from another tractor, but George can’t guess which one. “Most tractor steering wheels have only four spokes,” he says, “but this one has six.” Photo by Bill Vossler.



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