Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 45

TRACTORS How they restore oldies overseas R estoring old tractors is big business in the UK, Europe and North America, with active networks of vintage and veteran owners swopping and trading parts, advice, service manuals and tips, and modern manufactur- ers even turning out hard-to- come-by parts using old jigs. Not that the restored machines get to do much work, mind you, because after all the toil and sweat they're far too precious to actually dirty their wheels. Rather, they're used for weekend “road runs” in convoys around the country- side, or simply for show. And many are not owned or operated by farmers, but are lovingly restored in suburban garages by enthusiasts who may have themselves grown up in the country, or who have simply come to love the old machines. So how does a restoration project in the UK (for example) often start? First prize is a “barn find”, a tractor that has been pushed into the corner of some farmer's barn and over the years become covered with hay and dust. Rats will probably have eaten all the wiring and hoses but in other respects the finder hopes that the machine has been preserved from the worst of the English weather. Top prize on a barn find is that the tractor has its identification plate still attached, with its serial number, which gives the new owner the ability to trace its build year and licensing details. And ultimate top prize is if the seller still has a drawer full of old papers pertaining to the machine, What they look for to restore in the UK: Left - a “barn find” Right - a “hedgerow find. 43 the original purchase invoice, service history, owner's manual etc. Next best is a “hedgerow find” where the tractor has been pushed, often not working any more, into a Continued on page 44