IF A STEALTH FIGHTER plane had an earthbound country cousin, it might look like the 1947 Case VAO tractor owned by Francis “Sandy” Olson of Port Orchard, Washington. Unlike the combat jet, however, this vivid V-shaped beauty could hardly avoid detection. It always draws a crowd—not only for its bright orange color, but also because this orchard tractor’s restoration is correct and complete, including the sheet metal that gives it its futuristic look.
The metal cowling and shields protected the tractor from the orchard trees and the trees from the tractor, but none remained on Olson’s when he found it. Although knowledgeable about cars since his teens, this was his first tractor, and with the sheet metal gone he did not immediately recognize the model. Once he did, the scope of the project loomed larger.
“It was a pretty sorry looking thing,” Olson recalled. “The fenders, the side skirts, and that piece that snaps over the hood were all missing. And it only had three wheels. We had to find everything.”
The story of how this tractor went from “sorry looking” to spectacular involves a father and son sharing the excitement of discovery, the disappointment of dashed hopes, and many rewards. However, it all began with a kid who knew how to pester a parent effectively. … ~ Antique Power Nov./Dec. 2013
FOG WAFTED THROUGH the tops of tall Douglas firs while Albert “Al” Downs positioned his 1945 B.F. Avery Model A tractor for a photo shoot near his old farmhouse in western Washington. From an adjacent pasture, a curious llama watched, and birds twittered in the apple trees. After more than 50 years of continuous hard work, this tractor found a peaceful place to retire, thanks to a chance discovery by the right person.
In the spring of 2002, Al and his wife Debi drove to Battle Ground, Washington, to look at a 1941 Allis-Chalmers model B, the lone orange tractor in the owner’s John Deere collection. After money changed hands, the conversation continued. “We were laughing and talking about some of his other collections of stuff,” Downs recalled, “and he joked, ‘You’re into these odd tractors, aren’t you?’ I said, ‘Allis-Chalmers tractors aren’t odd; they’re just orange.’ He said, ‘Well, I know another tractor you might like. Come with me.'” ~ Antique Power Jan./Feb. 2014