1954 NAA

By Wayne Musser. Published in the Summer N-News issue, July-August-September 2016 Volume 31 Number 3

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

Wayne Musser’s beautiful NAA 1954 newly restored. The overhaul boosted the NAA’s horsepower by 18%!

Like many N-News readers, I spent my youth on tractors. Much of that time was spent on my grandfather’s farm in central Pennsylvania. My grandfather started farming with horses, and then he progressed to a Farmall F-14 tractor, then to a Ford 8N. He was so impressed with the 8N, he purchased a second one. After a few years of farming with the Ns, he traded one for a used 1954 NAA. The two year old NAA showed an improvement over the 8N with more horsepower and a Sherman Over/Under transmission that provided twelve forward speeds and three reverse speeds. It was also equipped with the live PTO option.

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

The rear view of Wayne Musser’s 1954 NAA with the live PTO (which his family used for hay bailing).

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA PTO lever

Live PTO lever (lower left), cup holder and an extra handle on the fender.

When I was about twelve years old, I learned to drive the tractors. I was doubly blessed in that both of my grandfathers were dairy farmers, so when one grandfather didn’t need me to help put hay away, the other one did. My grandfather chose the NAA with live PTO for hay baling.

The live PTO worked fairly well, but it didn’t always engage smoothly. My job was to stack the hay on the wagon. With the erratic engagement of the PTO, I sometimes found myself sitting down faster than I planned. My second cousin was stacking hay on the top of the hay wagon when he suddenly found himself on the ground after somersaulting off the back of the wagon!

Musser's NAA 1954 PTO operatiing sticker

Pay attention!

When my grandfather died, my father took over the farm. He worked as an automotive technician during the day and farmed the sixty acres at night, growing corn and oats. I guess you could call him a “heavy hobby farmer.”

Wayne Musser's dad atop the 1954 NAA

The author’s father, Ralph Musser, planting corn circa 1998.

When my father died, my mother decided to keep the tractors in the family rather than sell them. She divided the Ford tractors among my sisters and myself. My father had acquired the 1954 NAA, a 1953 Jubilee and a 1958 Ford 800 series. Since I am the oldest in the family, I had first choice of the tractors. I chose the 1954 NAA because it had belonged to both my father and grandfather.

Last winter, I restored the NAA. I ordered the power pack overhaul kit which provided the tractor with approximately 18% more horsepower for a total of almost 35 horsepower. I installed new axle seals, brakes, clutch, pressure plate, and new tires.

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954 in the shop

At the beginning of the restoration process.

The tires are loaded with a methanol mixture and there are also wheel weights on the inside of the rim. We found that with our clay soil, plowing with any of these Fords required extra weight. I chose Firestone 13.6×28 6-ply SAT 11 23 Super All Tractor tires. They certainly weren’t the cheapest, but they work well for us. This tractor has proved very reliable over the years and I hope it will continue to provide reliable service for the next generation.

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA with wheel weights.

Inner wheel weight and trailer plug.

Because I occasionally pull a trailer on the road with this tractor, I added a set of flashers on top of the fenders and also a trailer plug to the rear fender to plug in the lights on the trailer.

I also added an extra knob on the left hand fender to help me get on and off (see the top left image). I didn’t drill any extra holes, I just used the fender skin bolt holes that were already there.

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA front view

Wayne Musser’s 1954 NAA front view post-restoration. Not only does it work harder – it looks as good as new too!

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Tractors Are Good For the Soul!

By Lauran Paine. Published in the Winter N-News issue, January 2015, Volume 30 Number 1

Lauran Paine

Lauran Paine atop his 1953 Jubilee.

There are fifty odd years between these two pictures, but they’re the same tractor, same harrow and same driver. The tractor, a 1953 Jubilee, has been in the family the whole time. In the photo (right) I was in high school and my dad had only recently purchased the tractor. I’m guessing it was around 1961-62. (The dealer had painted it blue to look like one of the newer Ford tractors. They even painted the battery, coil and radiator hose!)

I restored the tractor a few years ago, and now use it for parades and teaching the grandkids about old tractors. Since the tractor has been in the family so long, I did what I call a “working restoration” as opposed to a “show restoration.” I wanted to keep the personality of the tractor intact.

The steering wheel had some cracks in it, but I didn’t change it because I knew all the hands that have touched it. Ditto the gearshift knob. The proof meter was faded, but I didn’t change that either – I knew all the eyes that have looked at it. The left footrest was bent from when my dad hit a stump; after all these years, my left foot wouldn’t feel correct if it wasn’t canted over.

My dad was a rancher, not a mechanic. He once installed a new coil on the tractor. The bracket holding the coil was adjustable but that was just way too much “monkey business” for him so he just pounded a little wedge of wood in the bracket to hold the coil. When I restored the tractor I put in all new electrical stuff, including a new coil – and I pounded that little wedge of wood right back in place. To my knowledge, the engine has never been touched internally. It’s still a 6-volt system and it starts every time.

The tractor wasn’t just about work on the farm. It was about hayrides and picnics, too. I can’t think of those things and not smile. All of the connections I’ve mentioned don’t make me melancholy – they make me happy. They are re-connections.

harrow restoration

Restoring the harrow to match the tractor!

I just recently restored the harrow and it was fun to complete the original picture again. It’s a Dearborn-Towner Model 11-29. (I got that info from an N-News equipment brochure I ordered.) I painted it with Rustoleum Sunrise Red #7762 (also with guidance from an N-News article). I think I’m the only thing in the picture that is not restorable.

When I drive the tractor, the sights, sounds, vibration and even the rattle of the harrow take me right back to 1961. Magical, I say! Old tractors are good for the soul!

Lauran Paine circa 1961 atop the 1953 Jubilee.

Lauran Paine circa 1961 atop the 1953 Jubilee. How little has changed… on the tractor at least!

Lauran Paine is an unabashed fan of N-News and a regular contributor. Check him out at www.thunderbumper.com.

641 Diesel Workmaster

It’s always nice to have a project waiting in the wings. In the summer of 2008, I had started to work on my 740 (see Volume 26, Number 4, Autumn 2011), but I was already thinking about my next restoration project. It was during one of my web searches that I saw an ad for a 1962 Ford 601 Diesel. The tractor was at a dealership in a small town SE of Austin, TX – not far from where my son and his wife live. The asking price was a bit higher that I was prepared to pay, but on a whim, I made the call. Continue reading

9N Redux

9N post-repair

Guy Silva worked for 30 years for a city water division, and over that time he ran a lot of Ford backhoes, which is how his interest in Ford tractors germinated. After working a northern Michigan property that he and his wife owned with a 1954 NAA, he sold it, but then after retirement he reconsidered. “I discovered I really missed having it around,” he says. Continue reading

Coming of Age With an 8N

Cornell Knutson in the field

My first memory of our tractors was from 1951, when I was about four years old. I was in the kitchen of our north Iowa farm home, watching out the window as a truck delivered a new tractor to our yard. It was the second 8N for our farm and the last tractor my dad would buy. Mom recalled that there had been a tractor on the farm when they were married in 1942. From her description, it must have been a 9N. Continue reading