The Acquisition


 It was early April, 2004 and the starter on my 1994 Taurus SHO had finally given up the ghost.  About a year previous I had found a good mechanic, Tracy Snyder – My Garage, for this old car and brought it to him again this time.  As I was leaving, I told Tracy that in prior years I might have tackled this job myself, but with the press of work I just didn’t have time anymore.  I went on to comment that I now satisfy my mechanical hankerings by working on old tractors, old Ford tractors to be specific.  He paused, gave me a funny look, and asked if I might be interested in acquiring another one.


It turned out that he had this old Ford 801 that he had owned for about 10 years sitting back amongst his parts cars.  It had died of a broken camshaft and he had always intended to repair it back to working condition.  In fact, he had a replacement camshaft already purchased, but with his work and racecar hobby, just had never gotten around to installing it.  I asked to see the tractor, and he took me around to a fenced side lot where he stores old deceased cars.  There it was, at least there was the back 2/3’s.  It was split behind the engine and sitting on a cinder block with the clutch housing exposed to the weather.  He had taken the engine into his shop, the front axle and wheels were in another part of the yard, and the hood was lying across the top of one of the cars at the back of this enclosure.  The rear tires were worn, but otherwise looked OK; it had been sitting in the shade of a tree all these years.  The rest of it, however, looked rough.  The makeshift seat was definitely not a Ford product, and the power steering pump, dangling by the hydraulic hoses, looked like it had been salvaged from a car at some time.  One step plate was missing and the fenders were nowhere to be seen.  Looking closer, I determined it was an 841.  Tracy thought it was a 1958 vintage.


Having only a rough idea of what its value might be, I considered what it might be worth if it were in operating condition and offered him about 1/3 of that for it.  He paused, thought about it momentarily, and accepted my offer.  We both agreed to think about it overnight and, if I still wanted it, I would stop by when my Taurus was ready and give him a deposit to seal the deal. 

On my way home I called my friend, Ron Kingland, up in Owatonna, MN, to see what he thought.  When Ron offered to buy it from me for more than I had offered for it, and would come to Texas from MN to pick it up, I thought maybe I’d made a fair offer.  The next day when I picked up my Taurus, I gave Tracy a check for $200 as a deposit and we had a deal.  I agreed to pay him over several months and when paid up, I would assist him to re-assemble it sufficient to get it on a trailer and over to my house.  That’s when he told me there was a hydraulic loader that went with it.  The loader was still on his farm south of Granbury.  This deal looked even better.  I just had to get it home.


[1] A seeming gift for finding good things accidentally.  Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1971

Subpages (1): Getting 'er Home
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Jan 26, 2009, 7:25 PM