Here’s a restoration project to drool over – a very rare Farmall Super M-VTA, restored to perfection by Eric Shuster of Moweaqua, Illinois.
As far as I can tell, this tractor is one of just 44 built to these specifications. While the Farmall M is an incredibly popular tractor, this variation was very specialized. Here’s the breakdown:
Start with your standard Farmall M – an iconic American tractor, tens of thousands manufactured over the years.
After 14 years of production, Farmall added the “Super” designation in 1952 – essentially the same tractor, but with slightly larger engines and hydraulics as standard equipment.
After 2 years, Farmall further tweaked the design by adding a Torque-Amplifier (the TA in the model designation). The Super M-TA was built only in 1954, with production ending in October of that year.
A Super M-TA is rare enough to be noticeable – but a high clearance really sets this particular model apart. Only 64 Super M-VTA tractors were built. Out of those 64 tractors, 44 of them used gasoline. This tractor is one of those 44 gasoline-burning Super M-VTAs built.
Based on the serial number and information from the IH Archives, we believe this tractor was built in the last month of production, October of 1954. Our best guess is that this was the 2nd to last Super M-VTA (gas) ever built.
Not much is known about this tractor’s path from the factory to restoration. We suspect it was a southern tractor, used in farming tobacco or cotton. By the time it was picked up for restoration, it was in rough shape.
The hardest part of the restoration project was the hood – it arrived at the shop without one. Because this particular model’s hood was longer than the standard, it was hard to locate a restorable hood for this model. Eric located one but it was in rough shape. More than 50 hours of work went into this piece of sheet metal alone – and it looks great! If you didn’t know the story, you’d never suspect the hood ever had any repairs.
With so few tractors like this made, information on the correct details is hard to come by – and parts are even harder to find. Experts at the IH Archives and the Red Power Magazine helped with research. By the time he was through, Eric had completed an incredibly detailed restoration – right down to the original hardware, radiator shutters, wiring harness, fuel line, manifold cover, and correct tires. Eric had help in this restoration from the tractor’s previous owner, Dale Smith of OEM parts, who had started the restoration process and custom fabricated many of the parts before he passed away.
As you can see from the pictures, the crowning glory of this restoration job is the perfect paint. Shuster’s Tractor Restoration really outdid themselves on this project, using 11 gallons of Iron Guard 2150 paint.
What a beauty! This tractor will be on display and offered for sale at the Mecum Gone Farmin’ Auction in Davenport, IA in just a few weeks. Thanks, Eric, for sharing your story with us – well done!