The Littlestown FFA recently unveiled its restored 1954 Massey Harris 44 Special Tractor. This project was completed by six Littlestown Agriculture students who used this as part of their Supervised Agricultural Experience (S.A.E.) project. Billy Brown, Josh Kehne, Jeremiah Koontz, Jason Penton, Rebecca Lee, and Danielle Reed were the participating members. These projects give students hand-on learning outside the classroom. Students met every Wednesday night from 6pm-8:30pm to complete the project at the Littlestown Agriculture Shop. Students received a ½ credit for completing the project. This project started with an offer of a free tractor to restore from Rodger Brough of Aspers, PA. Normally when someone offers you something for “free,” they’re usually trying to get rid of something beyond repair. This was not the case in this situation. Mr. Brough offered the FFA any of his unrestored tractors he owned. The advisors chose the Massey Harris 44 Special, because of the sheet metal being in relatively good condition and being a somewhat rare model. The tractor originated from the state of Kansas. It was sitting in a box trailer for over a decade when the team located it. The restoration team did not know what mechanical condition it was in.
What was done?
The first task was to get it started. With a new battery, a clean carburetor, and new gasoline it was started within an hour. The Littlestown restoration team then hooked the tractor up to a dynamometer to test the Horse power of the tractor at the PTO. It produced 47 horsepower, exactly what it was suppose to. The brakes were replaced and it was put in the 2016 Good Ole Days Parade to show the community what the students were starting with. Students then disassembled the entire engine, front end, and rear end of the tractor to replace every seal and gasket in the tractor. One of the cylinders had a gash in it, so new pistons, piston rings, and cylinder sleeves were installed. The tractor was reassembled and then painted. The team also added a belt pulley and rear wheel weights.
These special features could have been added when purchased from a dealer. The restored tractor is entered in the 2018 PA Farm Show Tractor Restoration Contest. This will be the 2nd year of the competition. The 2018 competition is for full restorations, the 2017 competition was for cosmetic purposes only. The 44 Special will also be entered in the National Delo Tractor Restoration Competition.
The 2017 restoration team plans on showing the tractor off at local and area tractor shows before the 2018 Farm Show Competition. After the Farm Show Competition, the chapter plans to sell the tractor. Projects like this do not occur without community support. Brieghner’s Tire of Littlestown donated tire tubes and installation of the tires. Stonesifer and Son of Littlestown provided facilities to paint the tractor. Moritz Machine of Biglerville provide mechanical service on the engine parts. Rodger Brough also provided parts to restore the project.
Other community members such as Littlestown Alumni Jody Brown, Alumni Ben Stonesifer, and James Penton assisted the students with technical issues. Below is a photo of participating students and advisors (From left to right): John (Billy) Brown, Jason Penton, Josh Kehne, Jeremiah Koontz, Rebecca Lee, Ben Stonesifer, James Penton, Rodger Brough, and Jody Brown. Missing from the photo is Danielle Reed and Advisor Jesse Brant.