David Stanonik classifies himself as a "gear head" and "hot rodder." He has participated in motocross, does ice racing and travels to Spain for Montesa motorcycle events. His favorite tractor is one he built himself, a Model 808 International that features eight cylinders. The Twin Lakes resident was employed at the White Farm Equipment Co. in Libertyville, Ill., between 1976 and 1983, and also by Allis-Chalmers for one year at the proving grounds in Franksville as a prototype builder and test technician.
“After doing some research, I was looking for a project, so to test my knowledge, I purchased a 1965 Model 806 International with a bad motor from Gary Twist Implement in Elkhorn 10 years ago,” Stanonik says. “I figured I could fabricate the necessary parts for this project, and with the versatility of International parts made in those years.”
First, Stanonik pulled the engine and then rebuilt a DV/210-hp engine from a dump truck. He did a prefit and then installed it into the tractor frame with prefabricated parts. He made his own engine oiling system, filter arrangement and power-steering line, plus a wiring harness that changed everything from a generator to an alternator system. The transmission oil was changed. He cleaned the brakes and hydraulic lines, added a new seat and tires, and painted all the parts separately. The final touchup was putting on clear-cut pearled strips.
While the tractor stays in the shed most of the year, Stanonik has done some pulling and takes it to a couple of area shows each summer. “People believe this is a production tractor and mention they have never seen this model and didn’t realize International made them. They stand in awe, and I have received hundreds of comments on the details, quality and overall workmanship,” he says. “I also have a 706 International and two Farmall Cubs, but the 808 is my favorite because it has the 'cool tractor' factor — such an original and truly one-of-a-kind.”
To have your favorite tractor featured, send in a photo of yourself with your tractor, along with a 150-word write-up about the tractor, to: Wisconsin Agriculturist, P.O. Box 236, Brandon, WI 53919.
COOL TRACTOR FACTOR: Here is David Stanonik, Twin Lakes, with his eight-cylinder Model 808 International tractor. He built this one-of-a-kind machine himself. (Photo by Harlen Persinger)