Com­bus­tion trac­tors

Irish Examiner - Farming - - COVER STORY -

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.

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