Old Oliver tractor gets new life

Photos by Tom J. Bechman Oliver 88 tractor
PRESERVING HISTORY: Jarrod and Amy Burris like having this Oliver 88 tractor around, since it belonged to Jarrod’s grandpa.
Tractor Treasure: Oliver green and yellow brighten up the barn.

Any tractor buff worth their salt will spot the Oliver 88 as soon as they pull into Jarrod and Amy Burris’ barn lot near Loogootee, Ind. It is often parked in a shed open on the front, letting the distinctive green and yellow shine through.

Like many older tractors on Indiana farms today, this one has a story to tell. This Oliver 88 originally belonged to Jarrod’s grandpa. That’s why the couple keep it on the farm. A few years ago, they decided to give it a new lease on life. Ray Ellis, a local tractor buff with a knack for making old iron look new again, restored the row crop Oliver 88.

Once Ellis finished the tractor, it looked like it did when it arrived from the dealership. It sports an original Oliver paint scheme.

restored Oliver 88 tractor

NEW LIFE: This tractor looked new again once it was restored by Ray Ellis, Loogootee, Ind.

The Oliver 88 was built from 1947 to 1954. According to tractordata.com, Oliver switched from the Streamline design for styling to the Fleetline design, which is more familiar to most people, in 1948. The Oliver 88 sold for $3,000 in 1954.

Produced in Charles City, Iowa, it developed about 38.5 hp at the drawbar in Nebraska tractor tests, and about 43.5 hp on the pulley. It could easily pull a three-bottom plow.

The Oliver 88 was available in gas or diesel models. Both featured six-cylinder Waukesha-Oliver engines. The tractor tipped the scales at 5,000 pounds.   

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