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Jones has a blast restoring tractors

  • 8 March 2019
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 1159
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Jones has a blast restoring tractors

Bill Jones has always loved tractors.
In his 85 years of life, he has bought and refurbished more than 30 tractors.
"I was born and raised on a farm until I joined the Navy," he said. "I never got my fill of farming. I just love old tractors."
Ten years ago, he bought a Massey-Harris Super 101 tractor in Alabama.
He brought it back to Bennettsville, worked on it some and then it sat in his garage for 10 years.
"Finally, Dorothy (his wife) said 'please move it,'" Jones said.
In the spring of 2018, Jones started working on it and finished restoring it last fall.
"I always wanted to do this tractor," he said.
Massey-Harris is not a common tractor in the South but is more of a midwest tractor. 
"Mostly what you see down here is John Deere and International (tractors)," he said.
Originally, Massey-Harris tractors were made in Canada. It is a popular tractor in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.
Jones said what is unique about the tractor is that the engine is not exposed.
"The farmers didn't like this because every time they wanted to check something in the engine, they had to lift the side shields," he said.
Massey-Harris Super 101 has cast iron rear wheels and a Chrysler six-cylinder engine.
When he started refurbishing it, the engine was faulty and had to be taken out.
Jones had to wait for six-eight weeks for the engine.
"It has been fun. It has been work," he said.
What makes this Massey-Harris rare is its Chrysler engine.  The company switched to Continental engines two years after the model’s debut.
To get cast iron wheels, he traveled to Memphis, Tenn. and to Iowa for a better radiator.
While working on the tractor, he had help from his neighbor, his son-in-law and two members of Pee Dee Antique Power Club.
"If I was farming in 1942 when this tractor came out, I don't think I would have ever taken it to the field and gotten it dirty," Jones said. "It is such a neat tractor."
For him, what makes the tractor stand out is the fine mesh screening and the full side shields.
"A lot of the other tractors are just wide open (where the engine is located)," he said.
There is no Massey-Harris chapter of collectors in South Carolina or North Carolina.
Jones has a friend in Iowa so he joined Iowa Massey Collectors Association.  He was featured in the  group’s February newsletter.
Jones and his family moved from Sycamore, Ill. to Marlboro County in 1980 and he managed the Essex Plant here.
Then he managed the Weller Plant in Cheraw. He retired from manufacturing in 1995 and went to work for the United States Postal Service for 19 years.
Only three years ago, Jones retired completely.
In 1997, he started the Pee Dee Antique Power Club in Bennettsville and now has 55 members from North Carolina and South Carolina.  The club has organized seven tractor shows which were held at Lindsay Park. 
His future plans for his tractor include participating in the Southern Farm Days show at Lake Waccamaw, N.C. on March 15-17.
And he is already looking forward to possibly refurbishing another tractor. Jones has photos of one that he is interested in buying.
"This tractor will be a pretty tractor," he said looking at photos. "If I decide to get this one and redo it, it will take me a year."
For more information about Southern Farm Days, visit www.southernfarmdays.com.

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