Boasting mint-condition restoration, Donald Sell's Hart Parr 40 will be featured at its first antique show near Perryton, Texas, on September 21 and 22. Photo by Sandy Woods.
Submitted by Donald Sell, Rt. 2, Box 15 Perry ton, Texas
The dream of restoring the only tractor of its kind in the
United States began in 1987 with a lot of talking. It came true on
April 16, 1991, when Donald Sell of Perryton, Texas towed the
massive 1911 Hart-Parr 40 out of the work barn, and fired the
engine that had lain crippled on the Montana prairie for
'It's my pride and joy,' Sell stated after seeing
the two-year project through-a project that has spanned two
countries, countless road trips, and a few wild goose chases
looking for missing parts. 'As far as we know it's the only
one in the United States in full working order, and one of three in
existence in the world that has been restored.'
Talk about restoring the tractor first surfaced at the Sell
house in 1987. A 1989 trip to North Dakota, where Sell met antique
machinery enthusiast John Tysie, put the plan into motion.
'The tractor was originally found in Glendive, Montana, out
on the prairie where it laid in shambles,' Sell said. 'It
was donated to the Culbertson, Montana Antique Machinery Show by
the owner, and John had traded for it. He had a Hart-Parr 30
already, and I traded him parts for his Hart-Parr 30 in exchange
for the 40 model.'
Tysie had gathered bits and pieces of information on Hart-Parrs
and where they were once located for close to a
'I first heard about the tractor in the early
1960's', Tysie said. 'We tracked it down and found it
in pieces out in a field near Glendive. Later the Culbertson Show
people pulled it in, but there was no possible chance for them to
fix it. At the time I didn't realize there was any difference
between the 30 and 40, but since then we've found many small
things that are different between the two models. Thirty models of
the Hart Parr 30 were manufactured and about 200 of the 40 models
were made. Both of these tractors are very rare.'
Sell went after the tractor last winter and unloaded it at his
Texas Panhandle home on March 1,1990. He had already enlisted the
help of two skilled antique engine restorers to begin rebuilding
parts from scratch.
'We made several trips to Canada to hunt parts,' Sell
said. 'We also went to the museum in Saskatchewan, Canada, in
January of 1990 to measure and photograph parts. I met with Clyde
Hall, a machinist in Fillmore, Saskatchewan, in 1989. He agreed to
begin working right away, making castings and the belt pulley. We
made several trips to North Dakota through the summer that year
looking for parts.'
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