Farmall H tractor 1948, a child's plaything

It all started with a present

The end of the school year in June 1964 was the start of an adventure. My schoolmistress gave me a green box with a red tractor and trailer for my graduation from nursery school to primary school.

You could cut out the box which had a scene of everyday life in the farmyard. It was a simple drawing of a boy running towards his father who was coming back from the fields on his tractor.

Me, when I was young

My grandfather making hay

My family in le Coudert

My family comes from "le Coudert" in Corrèze (in the Massif Central). Every year I spent my summer holidays helping in the fields and living the country life.

Hay making, reaping, threshing … the small farms in this poor region of France carried on with the traditional crops, methods and tools.

1998 in Seine et Marne

In 1998 I criss-crossed the urban and rural districts of Seine et Marne (South-East of Paris). I often passed an agricultural machinery distributor, Payens, near Rozay en Brie (Brie is where the cheese comes from). From the road, I could see a rusty, bent, row crop tractor stuck amongst the other wrecks and scrap.

On closer examination, it turned out to be a 1948 McCormick Farmall H.

Without really knowing why, I decided to buy it "as seen".

The wreck as seen from the road

High pressure jet cleaning

The restoration

The restoration started by returning the tractor to its original configuration.
I then dismantled and rebuilt the motor and finally I repainted it with the original International Harvester lettering.

A McCormick Deering drawn plough and reaper / binder of the same vintage were restored to fit it out for work.

Painting the tractor its original colour

After cleaning and a spot of paint

Moving house

When I moved to Étableau St Martin (near le Grand Pressigny) my mother gave me a green cardboard box.
This old "Jouef" box, with the International Harvester logo, held a red, row crop tractor.
It was the box that I was given when I was 5 years old.

My mother had kept it and I now knew what had pushed me into buying that rusty old Farmall H tractor.
I had been driven by a childhood memory, hidden in the back of my mind for years.

Pandora's box with my first Farmall

The Farmall H touring the back roads of Touraine.

The Farmall H with a drawn plough in the Grand Pressigny Comice 2002 ploughing match

Every time I go for a ride on my tractor or when I take part in a rally, I have to admit that I become a child lost in his dreams.

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Text et photos - Christian Rondard
Page layout - T-T-Web

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The music is the Chopin Winter Wind Etude Op 25 No11 played by Robert Finley.