Pre-1960 John Deere tractors are perfectly operable machines - in fact, they're the preferred models of Detwiler Tractor Parts of Spencer, Wisconsin.
The antique tractor restoration that Tom Detwiler began in 1985 as a hobby is a full-fledged business. Robert Detwiler, son of Tom, expanded the business to nearby Medford. Deere tractors manufactured prior to 1960, when the company changed the tractor style and discontinued employing the machinery used to manufacture the equipment, are a particular pleasure, Tom told the Marshfield New-Herald.
"We make new parts for old tractors," he said. "These tractors are so old that a lot of the parts have not been available for many years."
In order to keep the business afloat, the Detwiler family had to develop machinery to manufacture the type of farm equipment that would make a used John Deere tractor operable. The needed equipment also can be manufactured by local machine shops and foundries.
"You've got to start from scratch again - there's no original tooling left over from John Deere," he said.
The family business holds high regard for Deere tractors since they are unique and have a noted tradition about them.
"If you attend shows, the John Deere people seem to take a lot more pride in ownership and restoration of old farm equipment," Detwiler said.