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In the spring of 58 Harold Cook began looking for a new tractor to update from his 37 WC. one year later, he bought a left over 1957 Allis Chalmers WD45 and a late 1957 Ford 640 powerd by a Ford four-cylinder Diesel (yes, the prototype) from Davarn Equipment Sales, Pewamo, Michigan. The WD45 came with a full array of implements, wheel weights, clamp-on duals, and a heat houser.

These two tractors where used to plow, plant, cultivate, and harvest 150 acres of corn, beans, wheat and hay for the next 20 years. In the winter of 1972, the WD45 had a complete engine overhaul, and a D17 sleeve kit. When Harry tried to start the tractor the morning after he brought it home, it refused to turn over, as if the brand new battery was dead. . He jumped it drove it to town, there he and Ken Heckman installed a second 6 volt battery in a box off a WC on the left frame rail. Harry farmed with it another 5 years before retireing. Another farmer by the name of Dave Smith, who at the time was just getting his start used the tractor for the next four years at harvest time to haul grain.

My grandfather Carl Schrauben who worked with a close friend's construction crew saw the tractor sitting in the barn at the Cook farm in the fall of 1979 while helping to replace windows. He offerd to buy it then and there but Harry said he'd like to keep it around yet. A little more than a year later in the spring of '81 they were again working at the Cook farm, this time replaceing windows in the shed the tractor sat in. half way through the job, Harry asked my grandpa if he was still interested. He asked what came with it and what he wanted for it. Harry replied with "$1000 takes the tractor, the #3 (reffering to the allis #3 mower) and a heat houser." Grandpa went right home and got the money.

In the summer of 82 grandpa bought a #17 Allis loader with a 40" dirt/grain bucket and a 6' front scraper blade. from William's Farm machinery in Charlotte, MI. The blade had skid shoes that coult be set as high as to raise the edge of the blade off the ground clearing 4". He often left them at 3" and used the blade to clean up brush after cutting wood in the fall and spring.





Rescuing a 48 Farmall M, (later became a nut and bolt restoration) and 1930's Nash

Every winter they went through the yearly northern ritual of installing the canvas heat houser, a "winter must" that had heavy flaps you would tie to the sides of the front of the tractor and came back across the gas tank and back to the fenders to trap heat the radiator fan would blow back to the operator. It was made entirely of heavy green canvas and had a green frame made of round aluminum conduit that slid through special brackets, one on either fender that had a bolt you would tighten to keep the frame in place. Another bracket clamped around the steering post and then again to the front of the frame to support the frame. It had a big 3 sided plastic windshield that mounted on the top to keep the operator out of the wind. Often in the spring around plowing time, these windshields could be found laying up-right at one end of the field because they would collect dust and make it hard to see. They also where easily broken and scratched, resulting in many hanging from the rafters year after year.


Tractor, spring of 1984 preparing to have the heat houser removed, and yearly service.

After many years of abuse, the loader was finally broken beyond repair and the blade was removed and the boom was junked. In 2002 we bought another loader boom off a parts jockey for $150. The blade was mounted on this boom and the loader was mounted using the original "A frame" mounts.


Early 90's, me sitting on grandma's lap, showing one of the many repairs to the loader.


Sometime in the early 2000's testing a carb adjustment on the 1938 John Deere AR (fouled plugs under load)


One November night while getting ready to cut wood the next morning, I was digging around in the barn for a tree wedge "we knew we had some where" I found the old heat heat houser and pulled it out to inspecct it's condition. The canves had many mouse holes in it and was thick with grease oil and dust. The frame was bent but complete. The windshield was bent all out of shape and the plastic was cracked and yellowed from the sun. I mouse launched him self from the torn glove/tool pouch sewn on the side and skitterd away to find a place to hide. Some time in the past 5 years he had made a home in there, evidentaly out of an old cigarette pack and a pair of worn out leather gloves. I often wonder who was more surprised, me or the mouse? :shock: :lol: :. I managed to find the steering post bracket and straighten the frame out enough to put it back on the tractor, after all, I was going to be driving back and fourth haulling wood from a spot 4 miles away and it was supposed to be COLD.

Come to think of it, I never did find that wedge until a week the auction in 2011. It was right on the frame of the barn above where I found the heat houser.

That next spring we found a 3pt blade and took the loader and heat houser off for the last time. The loader was hung from the rafters by attaching a come-along to the pin holes on the boom and then to the rafters incase we wanted to use it again we could just drive up, put the pins in and un hook it. It was eventually moved outside along side the barn where it sat untill sold in the spring of 2010 at a local consignment sale. The heat houser was junked but we saved the frame and brackets, then cut the frame up and tossed it in the scrap pile. In the fall of 2009 I decided it was time for a new heat houser, so I built a new frame from scratch out of 1/2" aluminum conduit just like the original. After a few minutes diging around in the scrap pile, I was able to find the steering post bracket that was thrown away all those years ago. The other brackets have always been on the tractor. I cut the canvas from an old tarp we had laying in the loft, and got a windshield free from a guy in Indiana.


First version, 2009



Second Version, late 2010

Restoration







Sadly, Grandpa lost a battle with lung cancer in October 2010. He left me the tractor, his 89 silverado, and a shop full of tools. I am very proud of this tractor, as it was the first tractor I ever drove. Back then I only dreamed of owning A tractor "someday when I'm old". If you told me I would own that same tractor 3 months before I turned 17, and the closest thing I ever had to a dad would die of lung cancer, I would have called you a lier. This tractor has finally found it's permanant home, a home where this summer it wll return to it's former glory, a glory that had come and gone so many years ago.



Thanks for reading.
Luke
 

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I'm glad you took the time to share your story with us! I really like the old pictures!
 

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Very well said Luke, Now you have a tractor with alot of meaning behind it!!! Ill set the price of the tractor a little high :eek: PRICELESS
 

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Luke, what a wonderful story and it's great that you have your grandad's tractor. I remember many wonderful hours on my grandfather's '54 Ford NAA on his farm near Princeton, WV. Unfortunately, the tractor got traded away and we never knew what happened to it.
 

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Thanks for sharing Luke.
 

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A very well written documentary of how you and your tractor became what and who you are. I'm sure your grandpa is very proud of your accomplishments. Great story, Luke. Don't ever forget where you come from.
 

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I agree the story and pictures bring this to life. I also have many memories of tractors when I was a kid and growing up on the farm. The WD45 was a special tractor. I do know where my dads WD NFE is setting just waiting for me to go rescue it:) It is very rough!
Regards,
Chris
 

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Great story Luke! :D Wish i had that many pictures and that much history on my SMTA.

All i know is ol Willard Green used to own it and picked corn with it. great grandpa bought it sometimes probably early early 70s and it sat around here never getting used much. Not in a single picture i have found until 1999. :roll:
 

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I agree, those old photos of the tractor working are priceless! I don't think I have any of the WD I just brought home but will have to look through the archives. I cant save all the family tractors but the WD will get some special care on this 4 acres! Feels real good to have another tractor project ahead of me that has been in the Casbohm family for about 60 years.

Regards,
Chris
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Chris, that is a great looking tractor for its age. Looking forward to seing your progress!
 

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Luke,
Its kid of like me, looks better in the pictures than in real life:)
It needs a lot of work. I have a thread started that you may have seen. About 20% into this machine fix up. Not allowed to call it a restoration some folks in the house get real sensitive to that phrase. Last Cub I did I went way over budget! These tend to suck the money from the old billfold in large amounts, and at a rapid pace!
Hope things are good out there!
Regards,
Chris
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Chris, i know exactly what you mean, i set a budget of $1000 on my 45. In the end i was at $1700 that was with cheap paine, and she still isnt done.
 
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