I am devoting this page to two of the most challenging projects I ever took on. Only the Mogul was more difficult and that project has its own page as well.
(I have tons of photos of this project. I'll hunt them up and add some here after I finish getting the site moved here.)
When we started these two tractors there were 2 other like models in existance world wide. Now there are 4. To be specific these are International Harvester 15hp Type A 2 Speed Gear Drive tractors.
This gives an idea of what, in surveyors' language, would be called the "point of beginning". When I first laid eyes on this mess I DID think to myself "What IS the point of even beginning?" To further complicate things, some of the gears and transmission plates (bedplate, sides, etc:) were patterned from 20hp parts.
It wouldn't be fair to say I did all the work!! Some of the gears were too large for my shop and were done in Illinois and some gears and various eccentrics were done at two other Wisconsin shops. It was up to me, however, to build these tractors. We built the power trains backwards, from wheels to engine, to be sure we wouldn't run into any problems with gear meshs and so forth after it was too late!! CAD files and drawings provided by LeRoy Baumgardner Jr. of Hanover, Pennsylvania, were enormously helpful, particularily regarding the fabrication of the clutch assembly. Almost every part you see in the above photo are raw castings.
It was good to see them looking even THIS good considering the "point of beginning". About a billion and a half "consulting" calls were made to Dan Crist of Quinter, Kansas, who was a tremendous help and also Mike Higgins of Nelson, New Zealand, who provided photos of their family tractor, one of two and soon to be FOUR in existance. His transmission photos were invaluable. Not least of the problems was having to extend one engine crankshaft to make it suitable for tractor use. In the Summer of 2002 one of the owners suggested the possibility of these being ready in time for our local July Thresheree Show of 2003. I figured he had finally cracked up and about gave him up as a hopeless lunatic.
This is something of a quantum leap to this photo as I have tons of photos of the assembly process which I may post on a separate page and rotate them periodically. At any rate, we not only built the chassis for both tractors but also the engines. Neither engine had a connecting rod bearing. These are IHC Famous engines so you engine people know what's up with that! Dan Crist provided bronze castings and the rest was up to me. I scratched my head more than a few times before starting on those! By the way, in this photo the engine is running.
To make long story short, BOTH tractors WERE at the 14th Annual Rosholt Thresheree & Antique Tractor Pull of 2003. While not entirely finished they were there and running and driving. Again, to be fair, I did not do all the work. The owners spent many hours at the shop doing what they could to expedite things (and save a few bucks). It's a project I'll always treasure!
Here is a movie of BOTH of these tractors at their first public appearance:
PAIR OF IHC 15HP 2 SPEED TRACTORS MOVIE (Nearly 9 megs)
There are more videos of this and other projects at my youtube channel