Restored Unstyled John Deere A Tractor

A reader shares the restoration story of his wife’s family’s old John Deere tractor.

| July/August 2015

  • John Deere A
    A 1935 unstyled John Deere A looks beautiful after being restored.
    Photo by Ken Rowles
  • Tractor Restoration
    A 1935 John Deere tractor before restoration.
    Photo by Ken Rowles

  • John Deere A
  • Tractor Restoration

My story begins back in 1974, before my wife, Ruth, and I were even dating. Her Uncle Bob purchased five old John Deere tractors while visiting friends in Iowa, and shipped the tractors to Pennsylvania, to Ruth’s dad, Glenn, who purchased and serviced them. Glenn then sold all of them except for two unstyled As, which he kept and used on the family farm.

Fast forward to 1979. Ruth and I were on a date when a snowstorm hit. I decided I’d better get her home since my pickup was only two-wheel drive and didn’t do well in the snow. When we got to her lane, we discovered that it was drifted. She told me to go up in the field, assuring me it was fine. So, we drove through the field up to the house. I gave Ruth a kiss goodnight, and then I started back through the field. About halfway to the road, I got stuck. While wondering what I should do, I heard an old John Deere start up, and then saw it come out of the tractor shed. It was Ruth’s brother, Dave, who pulled me out with no hesitation.

Years later, Ruth’s brother, Don, traded their dad for that 1935 tractor. In 2007, when Don decided to sell it, I bought it from him, with the agreement that he would help with the engine repairs. He kept his end of the bargain, and I did the rest. I can’t tell you how much fun I had restoring that old tractor, which holds many memories for Ruth and me.

Clearfield, Pennsylvania

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