Well, it's finally here. My Cub Cadet Original, some of you may remember this tractor affectionately referred to as the "Crud Cadet" and "Crudette" in a few previous postings. The first Ugly Tractor of the Month winner from November of 2010. I'm considering myself done with the reconditioning process and plan to add things such as the correct air cleaner, fenders, and grill when affordability reigns. Here is a portion of my write up from the previous ugly tractor contest.
I found this thing in the weeds in northern MN during a trip home from taking kids to FFA camp. There was a garage sale sign on the road so naturally I had to stop. There was nobody home but I spotted this thing sitting next to a worn out garage just visible under the native vegetation. At the time I didn't know much about Cubs so I went home, researched, and figured out it was an original and of course, I wanted it. I dreamed about it for a few days and remembered that my brother-in-law gets up that way for work once in awhile. I asked him if he'd be willing to stop in the place if he had some extra time. A couple of months later I got the phone call. "I'm here with the owner," he said. We negotiated a deal for $75 and gave the phone back to my brother-in-law. He quickly said, "I'll call you back." He called a few miles down the road stating that he was somewhat fearful for his life while at the place and how his experience there was quite odd. I asked if he got a name and phone number and you can guess what the answer was - no. He wouldn't go back but remembered a wood-cutting business across the road and got the number from the sign.
I got the nerve up to call the number the next day asking if they knew the number of the place across the road and he said, "Just a minute, I've got his brother right here." So we chatted a bit and his brother seemed quite fumed that he would sell the Cub at that price and it was left with me trying to think how I would get up there soon.
It would be a whole year before I would get there again. After asking a few forums if an Original would fit in the back of a Plymouth Voyager I was set to pick it up, if it still existed. I had my doubts. I had this to contemplate for months.
Of course, as luck would have it, I had a van full of kids going up to camp so I couldn't take any seats out. I was nervous and giddy all the way up. The kids had no idea what I was up to. I dropped them off and started my journey toward the "gem." IT WAS STILL THERE! However, nobody answered the door. I took a quick trip to another "yard" I sift through on my way back from camp and stopped in again. This time someone answered the door. I asked if he was the owner. He stated that he was in a local town, almost as though he may be incarcerated there - but his brother's across the road. I hopped in the van and made my way across the road to find his brother, introduced myself, and he went on to explain that someone a few weeks back had asked to buy the Cub but he told him that it was sold to another feller. If it was mine, I don't think I would have waited a year for the buyer to show up but here I was, and super grateful too. That in itself brings back some faith in the human spirit and a spoken agreement that Craig's List likes to rob from each of time and time again.
This gentleman was probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met while dealing with tractors and the like. He helped me finagle the seats in the van, gave me some plastic to put down, and helped me lift that heavy bugger right in with about an inch to spare. I almost couldn't stay on the road on the way home as I had my rearview pegged on that beautiful grill.
While in my driveway I probably had 5 or 6 people ask me if it was in a fire. It somewhat looks like it from a distance but if you look closely someone had a heyday with a brush and some gray paint, then probably 10 years later some red paint.
In hindsight, I should have just cut my losses and parted it out but then I wouldn't have a long, drawn out story like this to tell the grandkids right?
After a long process, some new treads, new and scavenged parts, I am happy with how it turned out. I had one of my students, who works part time in a body shop, help me out with the hood straightening but other than that, it's just a lot of sweat, crying, and money.
Sometimes you just can't find a correct gas cap.