The Path Home

450 ihc 1A pathway is rarely established through careful planning; most treks follow a course made as a result of life experiences. Even when it comes to tractors, this is sometimes true.

My brother is Dave Nelson. He and I both like the red tractors quite a lot. We both used Farmall 300 tractors on our parents’ farm near Viking, Minnesota.

Dave wanted to participate in a 45 mile tractor tour about five years ago. About that time, a Farmall 450 was making its own path from a farm in South Dakota to Anamoose, North Dakota on the back of a truck. Dave happened to see the tractor parked at the truck stop in Carrington, North Dakota and thought the tractor was straight and clean and could probably drive the 45 mile tractor tour.

Dave purchased the tractor from Pete’s Tractor Salvage and went about patching it up so it could be road-worthy. I’m sure many full tractor restorations have begun as innocently as this, only to slowly drag their new owner deeper and deeper into ever greater detail.

After the sheet metal was removed, Dave was in deep enough that he decided to find out what was at the bottom. The tractor tour would have to wait-for the next five years.

As time and money allowed, Dave restored that Farmall 450 tractor. He replaced every gasket and seal, put new bearings into the transmission, split the tractor and installed a new torque amplifier, repaired the side bolts broken by a loader mount, repaired the hitch and seat frame, installed new gauges, wiring, tachometer and drive, soldered the radiator, rebuilt the power steering pump, replaced or repaired the hood tins, installed new tires and painted everything. The engine and transmission gears were solid and good so they needed nothing.

Dave is now the owner of a 1957 450 International Harvester Farmall 450 tractor, just out of the showroom. It has 12 different features unique to the 450 to include the automotive steering wheel and 21 gallon tank.

Dave wanted something very similar to those Farmall 300’s we drove back on the farm near Viking. Viking and Farmall’s play a big part in this story as Dave is bringing that fully-restored Farmall 450 to Viking for the Good Old Days parade on August 15th. That night I will emcee the evening program and I will still be flush from the fresh load of nostalgia Dave trailered home for all to see.

That Farmall 450 found Dave more than he found it. Life’s path for a Minnesota boy was changed that day by a South Dakota tractor sitting in a North Dakota truck stop. Five years later, their two paths have combined into a better one.

Dave occasionally posts nice sunset pictures from around Carrington on Facebook. I always thought he was just driving around in his pick-up after a day of work. I also felt a little bad that Dave never got to go on that tractor tour. Towards the end of our conversation, Dave told me that he and his 450 Farmall have logged right around 50 miles in the last few years. I suspect I now know what Dave was driving when he took those pictures and I also suspect he has finished that tractor tour plus some. Good job, Bro’.

Dave on his 450 IHC
This is the before picture with my brother using the 450 to plow pulling a Case 3-14 plow.

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