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Tractor Treasures: High school senior Corbin Forston learns the art of tractor restoration by refurbishing a 1949 John Deere A.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

May 7, 2020

2 Min Read
restored 1949 John Deere A tractor
RESTORED AND READY: This 1949 John Deere A looks showroom new after Corbin Forston restored it. If you’re a tractor buff and think it looks like a 1950 A, you’re not seeing things. Read the article. Dave Daviess

What do you do if you’re an FFA student and your high school requires seniors to complete a research project including at least 50 hours of work? If you are Corbin Forston, Bowling Green, Ind., you refurbish an older tractor, compare it to its modern counterpart, and put in so many hours that you stop logging them once it becomes a labor of love. His ag advisor says it was well over 300 hours.

Corbin didn’t pick an easy tractor to restore as part of his Patriot Expo senior project at Owen Valley High School, Spencer, Ind. He purchased a John Deere A from a farmer who most recently used it to rake hay and do other minor tasks.

Corbin says by the looks of the drawbar, it likely once did its fair share of plowing and disking. The tractor was equipped with hydraulics and John Deere’s Powr-Trol system. Before he bought it, one rear tire exploded, spraying out corrosive tire fluid. Both rear rims, the hood, seat and one front rim were rusted out. The PTO shaft was bent and wasn’t usable.

Corbin also purchased a parts tractor to pull parts off, as needed. He pulled the entire rear end out of the tractor he was refurbishing so he could replace the PTO shaft. Before he was finished, he installed a new bottom plate for the battery box, replaced seat cushions and lights, rewired the tractor, adjusted the carburetor and tuned up the tractor.

In addition, he refurbished the radiator, completed body work on the hood and repainted the entire tractor. Titan Tire provided a full set of tires so he could complete his FFA tractor restoration project.

Corbin Forston with John Deere A tractor before he restored it

IN THE BEGINNING: This is how the John Deere A looked when Corbin Forston was tearing it down, long before he put it back together.

Corbin did all the work himself, with some guidance from his advisor and local John Deere experts who know a few things about restoring old Deere tractors.

There is one interesting thing about his tractor, he notes. While it has a 1949 serial number, it has some characteristics of the 1950 John Deere A. While it’s sort of a “transition” model, most of the parts used in the restoration were from the 1949 model year.

- Corbin Forston, Owen Valley FFA, sits in the seat of the John Deere

SLICK RIDE: Corbin Forston, Owen Valley FFA, sits in the seat of the John Deere A tractor he recently restored.

Corbin intends to rake and ted hay with the tractor this summer, and then drive it in parades. Look for it at the Indiana State Fair.

Dave Daviess, one of Corbin’s ag advisors, provided information for this story.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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