We got her from a friend, Jim, who said, That thing (tractor) is free to anybody who will get it out of my shed. I'm buying a new Kubota and I need the space!" "What kind of a tractor is it," I asked. Jim said, "I have no idea."
I am a
professor at the University of Wisconsin, and I have modest mechanical
ability. My neighbor, Steve, a local Mt Horeb ‘tractor man’ and I
went over to Jim's together. I'm sure you've heard this story and
participated in this story countless times. "She's got oil," Steve
said as he checked the dip stick, "and the antifreeze is up there,"
Steve continued as he unscrewed the radiator cap and looked down into the
darkness of the inside. The residual gasoline was like varnish, and
we drained it out and replaced it with fresh gas. We cleaned the
carburetor, cleaned the points, and cleaned the plugs. Steve had
me sit in the seat,
probably to keep me out of the way, and not knowing I had never driven a tractor.
"What kind of tractor is this?" I asked. "She's a Massey Harris 30," Steve said. "A what? I asked, thinking I had heard wrong. "Massey Harris 30," Steve said again. "OKAY get those jumper cables out of my truck, and as the last connection was made the rmp's of the Chevy truck slowed slightly. "OKAY Norm, is she in neutral?" Depressing the clutch and moving the gear shift from side to side and releasing the clutch, "Yes," I said. "Okay Norm, turn on the ignition, and push the starter."
I suppose for people who have worked around and with tractors all their life this is routine but for me my pulse went up 20 beats per minutes. I pushed the starter. “Rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum.” "Hold it!" Steve said. I couldn't see what he was doing, but soon a hose to the air cleaner was disconnected. "Okay Norm, neutral, ignition, and try her again.”
This time as her engine turned, , rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum , Steve laid his hands on I'm not sure exactly where, but I am in such admiration of Steve his knowledge experience and abilities. PUUUUUUUUM, PUUUUUM, PUM, PUM PUM PUM, I'll never forget those first explosions in her four cylinders, those first explosions accompanied by a cloud of black smoke and the further elevation of my heart rate by another 20 beats.
Some movements of Steve’s screw driver made the smoke disappear, and her engine ran smooth(ish). "Drive her home, Norm," Steve said, she is a beauty.” I was bonded.
The rest of 1992 and 1993 I spent with my tractor. The dream team won the 1992 Olympic basketball competition on the small television set on her seat. We subscribed to Wild Harvest Collectors News and eagerly awaited each issue. We went to Massey Harris shows and we went to "antique tractor pulls" where we were thrilled to find a Massey entered.
BUT the fact is I don't have time for this tractor in my life. Well, I also still am short on skill and experience and everything I do is laborious time intensive because of my modest experience and skill. So, it really is the combination of my lack of skill and also being short of time. Many have helped me get her this far and the stories of the process so far will be remembered. My dream is to find a buyer who is interested in keeping her running and completing the restoration that we started.