In which Gramps Builds a Homemade Tractor

11062761_10153031729557541_5221951687835997993_nThe other day, Gramps and I went joyriding. We stopped by this old vehicle. Gramps looked under the hood, (ayuh, it is a Ford) and kicked the tires, something the men in our family like to do. Then he got in the driver’s seat just for a little fun and a picture or two. ‘I can’t believe they didn’t leave the keys’, he said as he checked out the ignition.

Convinced his great grandson, who is 9, can get it going again, Gramps called in at the town office to get the number of the landowner upon whose land this vehicle sits. We’ll let you know how that goes.

Later that day, Gramps told me about a time eighty years ago when he enjoyed another joyride. But first he and his father, HG, had to build the vehicle.

As he tells it………’I was about 13 and my father and I built a tractor for the farm. the perfect car for the storyFirst, HG found an old junked 1929 8 cylinder Buick which we stripped down to the still good motor  and rugged frame. So that was a good start.

transmission 1929The transmission on the car was also good so we kept that and added another one behind it on the way back to the rear end.

The front wheels we moved toward the middle; with a  smaller radius the tractor could could turn on a dime at the end of  row of potatoes. After we got the front wheels where we wanted them, we put the 2 big back wheels, axle and bull gear of an old truck on the back.

In the barn we found an old, beautiful, three foot wide leather buggy seat with wrought iron designs on the sides. We used that for a seat. Not only did it look fancy but the final buggy seatit sat two people comfortably.

When the whole process – which took about two weeks and cost next to nothing – was finished and we were ready to drive our tractor around, I got up in the buggy seat and let her rip…that contraption went fifty miles an hour. The wind was blowing through my hair as I went joyriding past Jake Drew’s farm and I could see the surprise on his face.

For the next few years most of our hauling was done with that homemade tractor. It did all the things a pair of horses could do and faster. It was progress, I guess. The rich farmers had their bought tractors but ours was one of a kind, made with ingenuity, not much cash and a classy, comfortable seat!’

Gramps tried to draw a picture of the homemade tractor but he’s not an artist. He can see it in his mind but can’t put it on paper. Maybe some of our artistic readers would like to try a sketch from the description he has given. Add him atop joyriding and you’ll make his day! Post it here in the comment section or email us at

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2 Responses to In which Gramps Builds a Homemade Tractor

  1. marsha and lew hartz says:

    oh my! what a joy to read Eddie’s stories! thanks so much for posting them. love you all.

  2. Susan Ludwig Suchar says:

    Viv- these stories are wonderful! You’ve captured them for all of us to enjoy. I’m sure my bother John Ludwig just loves this one!

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