A Mifflinburg Area student and the small gasoline engines classes at Danville Area High School both received top billing in two categories for Antique Tractor Restoration at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Mifflinburg Area Senior Ethan Hauck, 17, won Most Improved while the students of Danville Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Michael Shultz won the People’s Choice Video Award. The 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show was held from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.

FFA Member Ethan Hauck's restoration video of his International 660.

This is the second time since 2020 that Hauck, who works on his family farm about a mile west of New Berlin, won Most Improved.

“I feel pretty honored to get that,” he said. “It gives me confidence that I can open my own shop and start restoring antique tractors like that.”

Hauck said he found the 1959 International Harvester 660 Gas tractor in his uncle’s junkyard more than two years ago while looking for parts. While in rough shape and covered in weeds, having sat in the junk yard for at least eight years, Hauck said he recognized it as a rare tractor only built between 1959 and 1963.

“It’s a pretty unusual tractor to see,” he said. “It was used out in the midwest in places like Nebraska on big flat fields you can see forever. It caught my eye.”

After Hauck purchased the tractor for $1,000, he noticed another rarity in the design: it was powered by gasoline instead of diesel. Through research, Hauck learned that only 104 gas-powered models were made while only 7,000 diesel-powered models were made.

Over the next two years, Hauck put $7,000 into the restoration with the tires alone costing $2,500. Used as a Mennonite tractor, Hauck said the wheels were converted into steel, so it took time to remove them and install the new tires. The fender was also bent and damaged, so that also took time, he said.

He funded the project with only a bit of help from his parents, John and Susan Hauck, but mostly used his wages earned from working on the family farm and income from raising beef cattle and selling them at county fairs.

His goal was to compete in the Farm Show. In 2020, he and FFA students Makayla Lohr and Kayla Strickland restored a 1955 John Deere 60 and won Most Improved at the Farm Show.

Hauck, who is in the collision program at SUN Technical School in New Berlin, plans to open his own shop once he graduates. He said he would like to enter the Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration Competition later this year.

1951 Farmall Super C restored by the Danville FFA Chapter, of Danville PA. Special thanks to Alyssa Bergenstock for helping to put this video together!

Getting involved

The team members involved in the Danville restoration of the 1951 Farmall Super C are seniors Tyler Arley and Jesse White, juniors Michael Hower, Brandon Miller, Atreyu Pankotai, Luciano Spaventa and Michelle Stigerwalt.

“The kids and community really got into promoting our video, which has been really neat to see,” said Shultz. “The kids and I have had people who I never would have suspected being interested in it asking how we made out. It was great to get so much community support behind the video.”

The tractor is owned by Kelly Smith-Wells, another agriculture teacher at Danville. It was originally her father’s, and it had been sitting for probably close to 20 years, said Shultz.

“We brought the tractor into school last spring in March,” he said. “Our goal was to have the engine rebuilt and reassembled before summer so that it could be used throughout the summer, then work on the cosmetics this fall.”

COVID-19 changed some of those plans, but they were able to get the engine out before summer, he said.

“This fall we reassembled the engine with my Small Gasoline Engines classes, and we had a dedicated group of kids that stayed several days a week after school cleaning it up and fixing it up for fresh paint,” said Shultz.

When the tractor arrived, the engine seized fast due to water getting into the cylinders. They totally rebuilt the engine and upgraded the electrical system to a 12-volt system, said Shultz.

They rewired the entire tractor, rebuilt the carburetor, and installed a new clutch and pressure plate. They also installed new hoses and belts, as well as a new radiator and most of the gauges, he said.

The entire tractor was wire brush cleaned, the tin work was straightened — especially the front grill — and the entire tractor was primed and painted. Rear tires were upgraded, and the front tires were replaced, he said.

The projects were presented at the Farm Show on Saturday, Jan. 15, on the Lancaster Farming Stage in the Giant Expo Hall. All FFA chapters received a premium of $200 from the Farm Show and $600 from Lancaster Farming and the Friends of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Foundation. Lancaster Farming and the foundation will also give $250 and a plaque for best of show, most authentic, best video, most improved, best presentation and best record book.

The awards were presented at 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 15, on the Lancaster Farming Stage.

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