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Styled and Unstyled on Allis Chalmers and John Deere

Are you not sure what syled and unstyled term refers to for Allis Chalmers and John Deere tractors?

Let JR show you the quick and easy way to tell.

Unstyled tractors have an exposed radiator (no grille covering the radiator) these were early tractors in the model series.

Styled tractors had a grille covering the radiator, these were the the later tractors in the model series.

Finnegan’s Tractor Trivia Winners

Congratulations to our 17 winners of a $25 STP gift card. These 17 names were drawn from the correct answers in the Finnegan’s Tractor Trivia.

Q. In 1876 the first John Deere trademark was of a deer jumping over what?

A. Log or tree


Winners are:
Michael Brisbane
Matthew Jarrett
Glen Mitchell
Harry Hawthorne
Mark Dibblee
Charles Franze
Joshua Crockett
Ben Ball
Benjamin Sarcione
Jim Pesci
Bill Danel
Bill Petzke
Brian Thieding
Glenn McFarland
Dean Sampson
Clarence Cullum
Sean Motszko

John Deere Dubuque Model Designation


What does the letter following my model number mean? John Deere 40, 420 and 430 model tractors had many different variations. Each variation has a letter which is on the serial number tag after the model number. These are the letters for each model:



  • Crawler designation is “C”
  • Hi-Crop designation is “H”
  • Special Utility designation is an “I”
  • Orchard designation is an “O”
  • Row-Crop Standard is “RC”
  • Standard designation is “S”
  • Tricycle designation is “T”
  • Utility designation is a “U”
  • Special designation is “V”
  • Row-Crop Utility designation is “W”

For example, if your serial number tag has “420 –   W,” then your tractor is a 420 Row-Crop Utility.

More Power from a Ford Jubilee

Did you know that it’s possible to swap engines among many Ford tractors?


One of the best swaps is to put a larger engine in a Jubilee Ford. If you’re looking for a great little pulling tractor or just a fun powerhouse, this can be just the ticket!

Jubilee Ford tractors came from the factory with a 134 cubic inch engine. At the end of these tractors short but very popular production run, they were reborn as the hundred series (600, 700, 800, 900). The smaller models in the hundred series has the same 134 cubic inch engine, but the larger models came with a beefier 172 cubic inch engine.

These engines are similar enough that you can swap them around. It’s an easy bolt-for-bolt change to put a larger 172 cubic inch engine in a Jubilee Ford tractor.


This project isn’t for a beginner mechanic, but it’s basically straightforward. I’d rate the project as intermediate. The Jubilee’s size is a very manageable, and it’s designed to be repaired with regular shop tools.

Making the switch can be an inexpensive project, too – if you know where to look! The 172 cubic inch engine was used in plenty of Ford tractors over the years. My best tip: harvest an engine from a tractor with a junked select-o-speed transmission.

If you’re looking for a project to settle into over the cold months ahead, this is a great one. Give it a try and then let us know how it goes!


John Deere Lanz Tractors

Here’s a cool find: a German-made John Deere tractor!

John Deere exported American-made tractors all over the world. After World War 2, the company was ready to make a big jump forward in their overseas sales. They quickly learned that imported tractors were too expensive to compete in overseas markets. If John Deere was going to become popular overseas, the best way to grow would be to manufacture the tractors overseas too.
In 1955, John Deere sent a representative to negotiate the purchase of a controlling interest in the German Heinrich Lanz AG tractor and harvester company. The Lanz tractor company was well-known in Germany. Their Bulldog tractor was incredibly popular, with more than 220,000 produced over a 40-year span. Even today, Germans will sometimes use the word “bulldog” to refer to any tractor.
By 1955, however, the Bulldog model was 25 years old. The market was ready for an upgrade, and war-torn Europe was ripe for American investment.
It took 5 years for John Deere’s new German factory to get up to speed. Huge changes were made to the product line, culminating in the 1960 release of the John Deere-Lanz 500 and the similar John Deere-Lanz 300. These tractors were the first John Deere designs made in Europe. The tractors are similar to the John Deere 3010, but they are not an exact copy. They were designed specifically for the European market, taking into account parts availability, common European designs, and the needs of European farmers.
These tractors were very successful in Europe. John Deere soon set up manufacturing facilities in France to supply the German operation. Before long, John Deere was replicating this strategy worldwide. One year after the John Deere-Lanz 500 was introduced, John Deere had operations running in 6 countries (including the US).
It’s rare to find JD-Lanz tractors here in the United States. Parts are difficult to find, making them a real challenge to restore. The one shown in these photographs was at a local Mecum auction in June 2016. What a neat treasure!

Experimental Ford Tractor: Link between Fordson and Ford 9N

Did you know that Henry Ford experimented with a row-crop tractor before making the 9N Ford? Check out this 1937 experimental Ford tractor!


The tractor has a V8 truck engine, along with several other parts from Ford’s automotive lines (steering components, radiator, lights, and others). Henry Ford showed this prototype tractor to the press on January 7, 1938. Ford was “as pleased as a small boy with a fire engine” during the demonstration. He asserted, “I don’t care if we can’t make a cent of profit. The main thing is to get something started.”


This tractor was developed as a potential replacement for the Fordson tractor. After it wasn’t placed into production, it was tied up in a lawsuit between Ford and Ferguson and was eventually used to pull a manure spreader on the Ford farm.


Much of the work on the tractor’s design was done by Howard Simpson, a Ferguson engineer from England. He was in the United States to help with the production of the joint Ford/Ferguson Fordson tractor. From 1934-1935, he worked closely with Ford in Dearborn, Michigan on the development of the experimental tractor. After the falling out between Ford and Ferguson, Simpson returned home to England.


Henry Ford had planned to sell this tractor for $250. Henry really liked the Ford V8 engine since he had also tried it in airplanes and boats. However, it would not have been economical for farming since it would have cost way too much in gas (although that wasn’t a huge concern for farmers in this era). Also it would have had more power than needed.

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The tractor was displayed at Greenfield Village from 1954-1958, then parked out in the orchard. Trees grew up around the tractor, and the wheels sank 6” into the ground. It sat there until 1981, when it was sold at auction. Dick Cummins bought it at the 1981 auction for $950 (his original bid was $75!). He restored the tractor over the following years and now displays it at shows.
It’s fun to think of what could have happened if this tractor was produced instead of the iconic 9N tractor – but hard to imagine a world without the 9N (and 2N, and 8N). How about you? Do you think this V8 row crop would have been successful?

Sheppard Tractors: Before Their Time

The Sheppard Diesel was a tractor born before its time. While the company didn’t survive very long, these very collectible tractors were the precursor of modern diesel farm equipment. 

The RH Sheppard Company was a prominent manufacturer of diesel engines in the 1930s and 1940s. Their factor ran full-throttle during World War II, producing thousands of small, reliable diesel engines to use on lifeboats.

After the war was over, their contracts with the US Navy dried up – and RH Sheppard was looking for some other use for their high-quality diesel engines. Their solution: a line of tractors.

They weren’t alone in this idea. The major worldwide shortage of farm equipment after World War II gave birth to dozens of small, upstart tractor companies. Most of the tractors designed by these companies were hastily thrown together. They were odd designs, lacked quality construction, and their companies went out of business quickly once the major tractor manufacturers caught up.

Sheppard Diesel was different. These tractors stand out (even today) for their thoughtful design and high quality.

The RH Sheppard Company waited until 1949 to come out with their first line of tractors, releasing 3 distinct models at the 1949 Pennsylvania State Fair.


The SD-1 was a bare-bones, single-cylinder tractor. It was tiny, with no sheet metal and a high price tag ($1,095). Less than 15 tractors of this model were produced.


The SD-2 was a 2-cylinder tractor. It looked more like a tractor, sheet metal and all. The SD-2 was also priced significantly higher than its competitors, and sales suffered as a result.


The most popular tractor was the SD-3 (3 cylinders). The 32hp (belt) tractor was priced at a competitive $2,995. Roughly 1,500 tractors of this model were produced. (An orchard version is pictured).


Sheppard also produces a 4-cylinder model (SD-4) and an experimental prototype 6-cylinder model. The company also manufactured kits that could convert a Farmall M to a diesel fueled-engine in just one day (at least, that’s what they claimed!).


The company stopped producing tractors in 1956. An economic recession had slowed sales, and Farmall and Ford had just begun offering floor plans to dealers – these factors were just too much for the company to overcome.

While the Sheppard Diesel tractor didn’t catch on, it’s remembered today as a tractor that was before its time. The Sheppard Diesel tractors were well designed, with straightforward systems that farmers could fix themselves. Today’s collectors rave about the relative ease of machining custom parts for their tractors.

The Sheppard Diesel tractors were some of the first to offer power steering as a standard. The advancements that the RH Sheppard Company made in power steering technology continued even after the tractor line dried up. Today, RH Sheppard is a leading manufacturer of power steering systems and components (particularly for large trucks and farm equipment).

Why and How to Clean Your Shop

When’s the last time you cleaned your shop?

If the answer is “a long time ago” or “I can’t remember when,” then this is a great time of year to get things tidied up!

Cleaning your shop regularly is important because:

  1. It’s safer. Oil-soaked rags, used floor-dry, and out-of-service fire extinguishers are a recipe for disaster! Keeping things tidy helps reduce your risk.
  2. It makes repairs easier. No more wasted time searching for things you’ve misplaced or pushing past piles of scrap metal. You’ll be far more efficient in a tidy shop.
  3. It makes working in the shop more pleasant. While no working shop will ever be spotless, a basic level of cleanliness makes any working environment more pleasant.

Have I convinced you yet? I hope so, because this is a great time of year to clean out and organize your shop! Here are a few items for the to-do list. The bigger your shop, the more work there might be to do – but tackling even just one or two items off of this list might make a big difference!

  1. Take a “before” picture.
  2. Check your light bulbs and replace as needed.
  3. Open every door and window and give the shop a good airing-out.
  4. Knock down cobwebs.
  5. Remove and safely dispose of any dirty rags and used floor-dry.
  6. Clear off your workbench and scrape up any caked-on grease and grime.
  7. Organize your tools. Get rid of any tools that are broken or unsafe.
  8. Clean your safety glasses. Smudged lenses are really annoying!
  9. Take inventory of your oil, gas, paint, etc. Safely dispose of anything that’s past its prime.
  10. Clear out scrap metal.
  11. If you have a sink, clean it out and refill your soap and paper towels.
  12. Sweep the floor.
  13. Take out the trash, and wipe down your trash cans.
  14. Make sure your fire extinguisher is accessible and in good working order.
  15. Take an “after” picture – if I’ve inspired you to do a good cleanup job, share your “before” and “after” pictures with us! It would be great to see what you’ve done!


We thoroughly cleaned our shop a couple months ago. We took all of the large tools outside and power washed them, and even power washed the floor once everything was removed.

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Here’s the before and after of our shop sink.

IMG_6172   IMG_6173

Massey Harris 44 Orchard and Vineyard Models

Check out these pristine Massey Harris 44 Vineyard and Orchard tractors!

These tractors were a part of the Charles Schneider collection (sold by Mecum Auctions earlier this summer). I got to check out these pristine restorations on sale day, and I sure was impressed! I’ve seen lots of MH 44 tractors (it is, after all, the most popular model Massey Harris produced), but I’ve never seen anything like this up close and in person.

These tractors are equipped with a regular MH 44 engine and have many unique features. Both models are equipped with a hand clutch. There are no hydraulics, or place for a belt pulley.


The ultra-rare Vineyard tractor is one of just 30 tractors manufactured. It was produced in 1950. Only 2 tractors of this model are known to be restored today. The tractor sold for $14,500.

With so few Vineyard tractors in existance, details on this model are sketchy. I’ve read (but haven’t confirmed) that the very narrow rear axles proved problematic for the company, eventually resulting in a massive recall of the Vineyard model and a stop in production.


The Orchard version of the same tractor was produced for two years (1950 and 1951). It is also very rare, although not quite as uncommon as the Vineyard model. Approximately 150 Orchard tractors were produced. This tractor’s high bid was $13,500, which did not meet the seller’s reserve.

What a neat pair of Massey Harris tractors!

John Deere 2010 Review

The John Deere New Generation line (beginning with the 2010 and its sister models) was truly revolutionary. It represented the first modern, four-cylinder tractors the John Deere company had ever manufactured. Many tractors in this line turned out to be incredibly reliable and are still in use today – most notably, the 4020 John Deere. However, a few losses came alongside the victory. In my opinion, the 2010 is a tractor to steer clear of.

The 2010 was a huge advance for its time. The Deere company tried out lots of new strategies with the New Generation line, and the 2010 included a new engine design. The engine had an inventive deck plate to hold the sleeves in. The deck plate rested directly on top of the sleeves, using some O rings to make a seal.

This is another one of those ideas that sounds great on paper but doesn’t work as well in the field. As the tractor is used during the day – especially if it is turned off and on frequently – the engine naturally expands and contracts. The all-in-one design of the deck plate makes this tiny amount of expansion and contraction a big problem. The O rings aren’t enough to maintain a seal.

In addition to the engine difficulties, the model is also susceptible to a wide variety of PTO problems.

John Deere abandoned the deck plate idea when this model’s production was through. After the 2010, no additional models were made with deck plates. This is great news for the reliability of other tractors in the New Generation line, but it’s bad news for owners of these tractors. A low demand for parts means that parts are difficult to find and expensive.

The 2010 was a huge advance for the time. Nostalgia is strong with these tractors, too. For many farmers, the 2010 was the first modern tractor they owned. The live power, live hydraulics, and ergonomic design were game-changers for the industry. Restoring one can be a real labor of love – just know what you are getting into!