Ray Haffner of Springfield, Missouri had his first encounter with a Farmall Cub when he was a young lad in his hometown of Pomeroy, Iowa. It was the late forties and he was at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. He visited the International Harvester booth and there it sat the prettiest little red tractor he had ever seen. “I just admired the beautiful little red tractor,” said Ray.
While he was growing up Ray’s family farmed with an Allis Chalmers C. No one in the community had a Cub, all the more reason for one to seem more elusive. It would be many years later for Ray to realize his dream.
In July of 2003 he saw a newspaper ad for a 1949 Farmall Cub that was for sale. He inspected the tractor and found it needed a lot of repairs. The engine wouldn’t run due to major carburetor and distributor problems. It had a leaky radiator and the generator was bad. Most of the wiring needed replaced and the tires were not safe to use. After carefully weighing his options his heart won over his head and he purchased the Cub he had desired since childhood.
The seller, Tim Fry, was able to give Ray a brief history of the Cub, and how he was quite a “horse trader” in his day, and really had taken the tractor as part payment on a horse. It was a working tractor with a woods belly mower. Ray has since removed the mower, but still has it stored away.
Once he got the engine running he could analyze its needs better. The engine smoked so he replaced the rings and a leaking rear main seal. It needed one brake band, but the remainder of the drive train was fine. The steering sector gears were badly worn, from years of use, and were replaced. The tie-rod ends were bent and loose so they were also replaced. Ray’s uncle Larry Arndt who lives in Kansas City, Missouri located many of the needed parts on the Internet. He spent three months working in his spare time restoring the Cub.
A memorable event that is funny now put Ray into a rather dangerous situation while he was working on the restoration. The Cub was sitting blocked up in the backyard, with the tires and sheet metal off. Ray had it covered with a tarp for protection. Cubs have an offset engine, a set-up that is a recipe for disaster if they are not blocked up properly and/or the ground is soft. This is a lesson Ray learned rather quickly as he attempted to remove the tarp the additional weight of Ray and the engine on the same side caused the tractor to sink into the ground and roll over. No damage was done and he wasn’t injured but he quickly realized there was a need for additional blocking on the engine side from that point on. He said for a small tractor she was sure got heavy when he tried to turn it upright.
Ray and his twelve year-old Pekinese, Puggy enjoy riding around the neighborhood on the Cub. The trips to McDonalds and the bank are always good for a doggie treat. Actually Puggy doesn’t let the Cub leave the property with out him, he thinks it is his tractor. Just for fun, Ray said some day he and Puggy plan to go to town in full dress, bib overalls, straw hat, and red handkerchief hanging out of his left pocket and chewing on an oat straw. Ray said he plans to just let the Cub serenade him with its beautiful Farmall Purr into his old age. He will continue to drive his Cub around his Springfield neighborhood as long as he is able to make that step up onto it.
Due to limited space and living in a residential neighborhood Ray doesn’t have as big of a collection as he would like. He does have a 1948 Allis Chalmers C, a model that also brings memories from his childhood.
If you are ever in Ray’s neighborhood stop and say hello, he will probably be out polishing his Cub.