Wisconsin Agriculturist Logo

530 Case-O-Matic rescued from scrap dealer

My Favorite Tractor: The tractor originally belonged to the grandfather of the man who rescued it.

Harlen Persinger

March 17, 2023

3 Min Read
Ron Odegard with his 530 Case-O-Matic tractor
CHERISHED TRACTOR: Ron Odegard of Eau Claire, Wis., has a dozen other tractors in his inventory, but the 530 Case-O-Matic is his favorite. HARLEN PERSINGER

When Albert Schilling began farming 160 acres near Seymour, Wis., he had a J.I. Case SC tractor that featured a hand clutch and automatic-style transmission. But the machine lacked power and was too small for many jobs, so in 1963 he bought a 1961 J.I. Case model 530 Case-O-Matic off the showroom floor from Eau Claire Co-op Oil, along with a mounted three-bottom, 16-inch plow.

The narrow front end often lurched and lifted off the ground, so he traded for a pull-type unit that allowed him to plow, handle tillage chores, cultivate and spread manure. In the mid-1980s, Albert’s son Bill purchased the tractor from his father’s estate auction. He began taking the tractor apart in an effort to restore it. However, it was sold to a scrap dealer near Lake Wisota, Wis., who put the 530 into storage.

Lucky discovery

“One day I happened to drive by the yard and discovered the tractor sitting in some weeds,” says Ron Odegard of Eau Claire, Wis., Albert’s grandson. “I remembered driving it when I was 7. You just stepped on the brakes and go wherever you wanted to. My job was traversing through the field so my uncles could load oat shocks onto the wagon.

“After contacting the scrap dealer, I paid $500 for it. My friends helped haul the tractor home but discovered the front end was missing. Over time, I made contact with someone in Albert Lea, Minn., who had most of the parts — including a new motor, new seals, sleeves, pistons, new back tires and a seat — that was needed to finish the restoration. However, before rebuilding, the Case-O-Matic torque converter was taken apart and cleaned.”

The 530 Series utility tractor was manufactured in Racine, Wis., and Rock Island, Ill., from 1960 to 1969, with a selling price of $5,700 that final year. It was also used as the 530 CK (Construction King) loader-backhoe, although with significant modifications.

Features include an open operator station, power steering, mechanical disc brakes, dry disc clutch, 4x2 2-wheel-drive chassis, 12 forward and three reverse gears, 12-speed transmission, six-speed torque converter, four-speed gear, eight-speed mechanical shuttle, rear PTO, a weight of 4,000 pounds, 22-gallon-capacity fuel tank, a rating of 40 hp on the belt, 37 hp on the drawbar, and a J.I. Case 3-liter, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, diesel engine.

Odegard has a dozen other tractors in his inventory, but the 530 is his favorite. He uses it to spread manure in a field behind Pioneer Park and then grows rye for the annual pioneer threshing event.

“I never expected to ever see that machine again, especially when it went to the scrap yard,” Odegard says. “Although everything looks shiny and new, it’s not just a show tractor. I like to pull with it, and if that venture is successful, I’ll keep up with that activity. Someday my granddaughter Kylie will probably take ownership of the 530 because she has been driving it since she was 4 years old.”

Persinger writes from Milwaukee. To have your favorite tractor featured, email or send in a photo of yourself with your tractor, along with a 300-word write-up about the tractor, to: [email protected] or Wisconsin Agriculturist, P.O. Box 236, Brandon, WI 53919.

Read more about:

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like