Jump to content
Wheelhorsestory

The Christmas Tractor (part 3)

Recommended Posts

While I was an automotive student at Eli Whitney Tech. in Hamden, CT. customers would bring in their cars for repair. It actually was run like a real "dealership service facility".  On occasion we would get in a garden tractor or lawn mower for repair. I'll never forget the day when we were waiting for our assignments for the day when Mr. Gamache shouted out in his usual loud and nasally voice, " Mike, bring in that damn Wheel Horse tractor and tear down the transmission".  Could it be true?  As I walked across the expansive shop, was beaming with excitement.  I pressed the button and up went the 30 foot wide automatic door. Across the court yard was a 1960s Chrysler Imperial, a huge land yacht Chevy Impala wagon,a 1965 Ford Falcon, and a 1964 Plymouth Valiant.  Do you remember the Chrysler slant six engine?  The thing was built like a tank and sounded like a sewing machine, due to it's solid valve lifters that almost always needed adjustment.  For those of you who don't remember the slant six, it was an in line six cylinder engine that was designed off center on a slant which in turn would lower the engine's height and thus the hood profile line.  As I looked down the row of cars, I could not find the Wheel Horse.  I went back to tell Mr. Gamache that I could not find the tractor, when he said that it was out in the faculty parking lot.  I hoofed the long walk across the parking lot, and thought to myself at least it is down hill.  As the tractor came into my sight, I could see the belt guard that told me it was a model 1055.  I never saw another Wheel Horse except the two that belonged to my dad's friend.  I mounted the horse to drive her back to the school and guess what?  I didn't start.  This meant that I had to push it back to the school which was all up hill.

When the tractor was in my assigned bay, I took a short break to catch my breath, as my shop buddies stood around and told jokes about I had to fix a riding mower instead of a car.  I really didn't mind, because I was glad that my name was called for the Wheel Horse.  Mr. Gamache came over and I began complaining how I had to push the thing up hill.  In then told me his story of when he was sixteen.  "I was called out with the tow car and had to jump start a Hupmobile with my teeth!"  I laughed so hard on the inside, as he walked away.  As the day went on, the other shop teacher, Mr. Fox reamed me out because all I did all day was wash and clean the tractor.  I remember telling him that I hated working on dirty cars. He shouted back "knock it off, and tear it down"!

Tune in tomorrow for more of the story.

 

Merry Christmas,

Mike Martino

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think everyone had a shop teacher like that!!! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was working in the shop 15 yrs. ago we had a customer with old Chryslers. I was the only one allowed to work on them.He had a 63 Valiant with the slant and push button trans.  He also had a Polara wagon with like a 20" steering wheel and a radiator as big as a Lawn Ranger. Talk about a Land Yacht!

Edited by squonk
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You were right about the slant six. In the mid '70s I picked up a used '66 Dodge Pick Up with a slant six, showed a little over 40K on the odometer. I figured it might have 140,000 but as it turned out I talked to the previous owner's helper some time later and discovered it was 440,000 miles; it ran great and had 490,000 when I had to stop driving it due to rust through in the frame so bad that it was ready to fold up! That slant 6 was still humming like a sewing machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×