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by Clayton Sweeney
My name is Clayton Sweeney. I am from Southern Maryland in a small town called Lothian. I am 20 and my father and I are the proud owner of a 1954 Allis Chalmers WD-45. When I was 18, I dated a girl in the next county over. Her family are tobacco farmers. It was a cold Thanksgiving evening, and we were going up to her Grandparents house.
As we passed one of their barns, I noticed something orange in the corner of my eye in this old shed. It was pretty dark and I asked what it was and my girlfriend said she thought it was an old tractor. So, I asked her grandfather and he told me that it was an old WD-45. It hadn't run in about twelve years. It used to be their tobacco spraying tractor, because of it's height and tricycle wheel front end. So, I asked why they had parked it. They claimed they ran it for about 2 years or so, but the rear tire had gotten a flat and they thought that it was to expensive to fix. They pulled it in the open part of their shed, let the gas run out and parked it.
For the next couple of months, I hinted around about buying it from them. However, it was getting to be about February and I was busy planting corn, spreading lime, and getting our tobacco beds ready. I had planned to ask them the next free time that I had.
Later on in the year I had a break for about a week or so because I had just gotten done top dressing our corn. Since I was running around getting some parts, and I stopped in to see them. I told them I would really like to get the old tractor and fix it up. Before I asked them about price I went over, took the spark plugs out, and squirted some brake free in cylinders to see if it was locked up.
I had a feeling it wasn't, so I went back about a day or two later and turned it over with the hand crank to see if it was locked up. It wasn't! So, I gave them a price of $500. They thought it over and said that was fine. Finally I had the tractor I had my eyes on. I didn't go get it until that fall. I was busy with tobacco and cutting wheat and didn't have a lot of free time.
One Saturday my Dad and I went down there to look at how to get it home. First we took all of the old tobacco cottons off and removed the bad tire from the tractor. Took it home and fixed it. Now the question was, how do we get the tractor home?
My dad suggested that we take our trailer down there, drag it up on that and then haul it home. I said well, since the tires are all in pretty good shape, why don't we pull it home? So I went back and got our Massey Ferguson 180 and went down there. I hooked it to the old WD-45 and pulled it out of the barn from behind since they drove it in and parked it, and then came around to the front and hooked up. We went on out of their driveway and pulled it on home. It took about a half hour.
I went the back way to stay away from the traffic. I was worried because we had to go down several hills and I didn't know how the old brakes were on it, but they were fine. We got it home and started to get it running. It now runs and my Dad is in the process of taking it apart getting ready to paint the old tractor. However, I am currently an Airman in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Germany, so I can't help him with it, but he sent me pictures and it is coming along great. I hope you have enjoyed my story, as antique tractors are a big part of my life and will always be no matter what I am doing or where I am.