At the time that tractor was built, some of the RedSquare forum "regulars" were hot on the idea of custom tractors with whitewall tires, flat black paint, and just a generally nostalgic look. I dabbled just enough with MS Paint to come up with my take on a hot rod-looking tractor and once I posted the drawing, I was asked when I was going to build the real thing.
This is the drawing:
The factory where I was working closed down in March of 2008 and I was (involuntarily) left with lots of free time, so I rooted a frame and transaxle of of my parts pile and dug right in.
The parts pile (frame & transaxle are in the lower left corner):
I knew I wanted this thing to be cool and fast, but being unemployed not only deflates one's pride, but also one's wallet. The main goal was to use as many Wheel Horse parts as possible - although most would be moderately to severely modified. Buying high-dollar parts was definitely out of the question.
Within an hour, I had stuck a few more pieces together and removed about 10 or 12 inches out of a late 60's long hood. A "spare" 7hp Kohler engine was placed as far back on the frame as possible and I fired up the camera for the first of many hideous photos of my attempt of progress:
A belt guard was shortened and some smaller front tires were fitted:
I decided to swap out the front axle for a '60/'61 Suburban piece - and of course I had to see it in flat black:
The frame was stripped and drilled for the small block Kohler. Two lower steering shafts were joined with a sleeve and welded to the proper length. I also raised the front axle mounting hole as high as possible to lower the front end even more:
I wasn't happy with the extremely short hood, so I built another a little longer.
I also cut out the headlight opening portion and added a section of grille bars removed from another hood.
The top section of an old MTD lawn tractor hood was flipped upside down and formed into a cowl induction hood scoop, and the front nose was fabricated from steel plate:
Special thanks to Eldon G. for a helping hand with his board sander!
The engine began as a bare K181 block from a B-80, and after several hours and a mixture of parts from various engines, a full port & polish job, a new set of rings, and a few other tricks, it was together:
Somewhere in between, I swapped the old 3 speed tranz for an 8 pinion 8 speed from a C-101, adding a 4" engine pulley and a 2.5" tranz pulley. Engine is goverened @4000 rpm and runs best on AVGAS. (plus it smells real good!)
Although I had located a source for low profile 12" rear tires (no whitewalls though), buying them was not possible right away. Over the course of the next week or two, I sold a few things and came up with enough cash to buy the two rear tires, and the two front tires and wheels. Some days I worked and forgot to get pictures. The wheelie bars were built with old mini-bike shocks, hydraulic tubing, and caster wheels from the hardware store, the hand clutch/brake mechanism was built using part of an implement lift lever, and the sheetmetal was cut, welded, and fitted many, many times. The next thing I knew, it was ready for the test drive:
It had a mind of it's own at speed and needed more caster, so I cut the front axle plate out of the frame, shortened and angled it to match the rear mounting plate that I bent forward. I also redesigned the drag link / tie rod assembly:
Once the bugs were worked out, it was torn down for paint and slowly reassembled.
Paint is actually Krylon Cherry Red and Satin Black aerosol:
The exhaust was built from steel tubing and a Supertrapp muffler body with a homemade silencer:
A Midwest Super Cub foot throttle was added:
All done except the decals:
This was all done in three months and was definitely much more than a simple tear it apart, paint it, and reassemble it project. The gas tank, tank tray, and aluminum dash housing are the only three parts I did not modify - except for the black paint.
Thank you for having a look!
Edited by WH1056, August 31, 2012 - 07:28 AM.