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Serving: IN

Old John Deere tractor gets new life

Tom J. Bechman restored vintage John Deere model B tractor
LIKE NEW: This restored John Deere model B looks like it was just delivered from the dealer.
Tractor Treasure: A master restorer gives this John Deere model B a second life.

Jarrod and Amy Burris know where to turn when they want an old keepsake tractor to look like new again. They farm near Loogootee, Ind., and rely on local tractor buff Ray Ellis to put older tractors back in top condition.

The John Deere B tractor sits in one of their barns, right next to an Oliver 88 tractor. Ellis restored both older tractors to like-new condition.

John Deere made the model B tractor from 1935 to 1952, a long run for one model. According to, the B saw significant changes twice during that run. From 1935 to 1938, Deere produced the unstyled model B without the sleeker front end and grill over the radiator, which would be a hallmark of John Deere tractors through the number series all the way to 1960. From 1939 to 1946, the B took on the more stylish look, but it still featured the old-style, spring seat. From 1947 through 1952, the John Deere B was a styled tractor, with a seat much like that which would appear on the 40, 50, 60 and 70 series, and later in the 420, 520, 620 and 720. The Burris tractor was produced after the switch in seats occurred.

The padded seat sat on top of a battery box, and electric starting and lighting were standard on all model B tractors produced in 1947 and after. The last John Deere B tractors produced just under 25 hp at the drawbar and 27.5 hp on a belt. They had a six-speed transmission and a 3.1-liter, two-cylinder engine. The gas tank held only 12 gallons. A new B in 1952 listed at $1,900.

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