ade that is entirely credible. The heart of every tractor is its engine, and once more, the knowledge and experience of fixing all sorts of vehicles over many decades shines through. Starting the engine was never easy after the rebuild, so Billy returned to first principles, and worked on a method to ensure the ignition timing was correct. Having done so, it will now fire on half a turn of the starting handle, with no risk to the thumbs through misfire or other accident.
“It was always said that’s how they started” he notes, with a restrained sense of pride and satisfaction in not only bringing back to life the tractor but also, and equally as important, the tricks of working it.
Once again we can see the vestiges of steam engine thinking in the engine’s design, with twin cylinders that are horizontally mounted across the frame, a format which John Deere resolutely stuck to after their purchase of the Waterloo company in 1918.
The Overtime was the mother of the ‘Johnny Popper’ tractors that stayed on until 1960, when John Deere introduced its New Generation range of machines, condemning the layout to engineering history.
Billy Donegan and his grandson, also Billy, of Feenagh, Co Limerick, on a restored Overtime tractor. Our cover photo shows young Billy firing up the tractor.