rachel gingell farmall m tractor chrome muffler steinerNow that spring is here, my calendar is starting to fill up with tractor shows and events. I’m excited about traveling around the country this summer (perhaps you’ll see me at a Steiner booth at a Mecum auction!) and seeing some of the finest tractors around.


If you are headed to a show this year with a restoration project of your own, you’re probably at the point where you are ready to start thinking about the finishing touches for your tractor. Here are five often overlooked details that can take your completed project from good to great.


  1. Matching Tires: Make sure your rear and front tires match, and are in the correct size. I personally prefer long-bar/long-bar tread tires (like most antique tractors originally came with) rather than the recently popular long-bar/short-bar tread pattern.
  2. Decals: We purchase many tractors that have been nicely painted and mechanically restored – with the decals handed to us in the package! It can be a little nerve-wracking to apply decals, but it’s actually very easy to do. Don’t let fear of messing up a perfect paint job keep you from finishing. Here’s my video how-to for decal installation.
  3. Stainless Steel Muffler: No, it’s not a factory original… but a stainless muffler is my favorite.
  4. Gauges: Even if the old gauge works properly, they often become faded or yellowed in the sun. A brand-new gauge can make all the difference, giving your dash a factory-fresh look.
  5. Complete Three-Point Components: A properly restored tractor should have the original-style top link. John Deere collectors seem to notice this detail more than others, but it applies to all brands.


How about you – what finishing touches do you put on your tractors? Let me know in the comments below!