AgWatch


History Of A Tractor
















Owners Trace Tractor’s Life From New To Present

BY GLENNON & CATHY DIRNBERGER
(Special to MidAmerica Farmer Grower)

ORAN, MO.
   I was nine years old when my father, Robert Dirnberger, bought this new Super MTA tractor in 1954. It was the first new Farmall tractor that my father bought. That TA was really different when it came to pulling hills. If it wouldn't pull in the gear you were driving, you just had to pull that TA back (no clutch needed), get to the top of the hill, push the TA forward, and go.
   My father had bought several other used Farmall Ms, Super Ms, and even an F20. He had also bought several new Ford tractors. I remember an 801 Ford, a Silver Jubilee, and an 861 Ford. One had a front loader that seemed to take half a day to attach. Farmalls and Fords are all my father ever had, but I still remember Amos and Andy. They were before the first tractor and they didn't use gas, but they sure passed it every now and then.
   My pride and joy was the Super MTA. My father passed away in 1972 in a farm accident when I was 28. I had just bought my grandfather’s 120-acre farm, and I was helping my father farm some 400-plus acres. I bought all the machinery he had and that was when I became the owner of the 1954 MTA. 
   In 1974 1 needed a bigger tractor, so I traded my MTA for an International 1066. When Bill Huey, who worked for Schneider Equipment Co. in Cape Girardeau, delivered my new tractor and took my MTA back to Cape, he didn't unload it. Vernon Robert, who sold the tractor to my father, told Bill to unload it, but Bill said he wanted to buy it.
   Vernon told Bill the only way he would sell him the MTA was if Bill promised not to sell the tractor until he (Vernon) passed away. Vernon wanted to know where the MTA was until the day he died. I was told that it was the first new tractor that Vernon sold, however that is only hearsay.
   Bill bought the tractor, making him the third owner. Bill used the tractor almost every year at the SEMO District Fair in Cape Girardeau to drive posts with a front mounting post driver. Several years before Vernon passed away, Bill told him that I wanted to buy it back. Vernon said that was okay with him. He said he would know where it was on the day he died. Bill wasn't ready to sell the tractor, but said I would have first chance to buy it back when the time came. So after years of me urging him to sell it back to me, he finally called in February 2014 to say he would sell the tractor to me. My first thought was, "How much is sentimental value worth?" I found out it is worth a whole lot.
   Before I had it painted, I checked to make sure everything was in good shape mechanically. Except for the motor, the MTA needed a lot of work. It was 60 years old and had never been overhauled, but it checked out fine and still purred like a kitten. Almost everything else from front to back, however, is new or remanufactured.
   While it had been there before, I entered the tractor my first time in the SEMO District Fair in 2014, and it overwhelmingly won the "People's Choice Award.” Then I exhibited it in Cousin Carl's Farm Show, and it won "Best in Show."
   As all can see, I am very proud of my "new" tractor and, like Vernon, l plan to know where it is until the day that l leave this life. Maybe I’ll even parade around Heaven on my Super MTA with my dad riding shotgun.
   Note To My Father
   So Dad, if you promise that you will be really careful, I’ll let you drive it once in a while. After all, you put me in the driver’s seat when I was cutting my eye teeth. This tractor spurs lots of memories that no amount of money can buy. There were many good times, I loved them all, and they mean a whole lot more now than they did back then. ∆
   Glennon & Cathy Dirnberger are farmers residing in Oran, Mo.
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