The September/October 2018 issue of Antique Power magazine will be available in subscriber mailboxes and on newsstands soon. Our latest cover tractor is a 1937 John Deere Model AOS orchard type, which is owned by Jeff Lockhart who lives north of Chicago, Illinois.
A Streamlined Work of Art
Finding a 1937 John Deere Model AOS orchard tractor fulfilled Jeff Lockhart’s long-standing dream.
by Candace Brown, photos by Brad Bowling
Jeff Lockhart, who now lives in Illinois, was a teenage boy on a farm near Greenville, Ohio, when a print by painter Charles Freitag grabbed his attention. That illustration showed several 1930s-style, open-cockpit race cars speeding around a track. However, the sleek green machine hugging the banked outer curve was not a race car at all. It was a John Deere Model AOS orchard tractor.
“The picture made a joke out of the looks of the AOS, because it had sleek lines and looked really fast,” Lockhart said. “After I saw that picture, the AOS always stuck in my head. I wanted to own one. It has been one of my favorite tractors since I can remember.”
Even during the Great Depression, the brilliant engineers and designers at Deere & Co., such as Theopholis (Theo) Brown and Wayne Worthington, developed new products under the supervision of Deere’s chief engineer, Elmer McCormick. In 1934, the company introduced the Model A, a 2-cylinder, narrow-front row crop tractor. The Model A and its variants were so successful that some 300,000 units were built over 18 years.
Two versions of the Model A were the Model AR, which had a standard front axle, and the Model AO, which was the original orchard version. A modified version of the AO, called the AOS, appeared in 1937. The “S” stood for streamlined. Specialized orchard sheetmetal on each side protected the tractor from low tree limbs, while also protecting the trees and vines from protrusions on the tractor. Narrowed toward the front, the sheetmetal extended outward horizontally from just behind the grille and swept gracefully toward the rear, where it widened to create the fenders.
To read more about our featured 1937 John Deere AOS, pick up a copy of the September/October 2018 issue of Antique Power magazine!
Other articles in this issue include:
- The Dust Proof Stinson - George Schaaf says his 1919 Stinson Model 4E is one of the most unusual tractors he has owned. (by Rick Mannen, photos by Patrick Ertel)
- A Four-Generation Effort - Bill Gilstrap brought a 1956 Farmall Model 300 back to life with plenty of help from his family. (by Candace Brown, photos by Al Rogers)
- A Lesser Known Classic - Mike Barrett’s 1949 Long Model A epitomizes the stylish streamline aesthetic of the postwar years. (by Ray Hoffman with historical notes by Rick Mannen, photos by Mike Barrett)
- A Special Caterpillar - While others overlooked the 1928 Caterpillar Sixty at the auction, Tim Rees placed the only bid on it and won. (by Tim Rees)
- Canada Connection: Provincial Plowing Matches (by Rick Mannen)
- Gallery: 1948 Case VAC (by Michael Adkins)
- Letter from the Editor: Plowing Skills (by Rick Mannen)
- Letters to the Editor
- Of Grease & Chaff: Nightlife in Poland (by Ted Kalvitis)
- Photos from the Attic: John Deere G and Fordson (by Mike Meyer)
- Tech Tips: Special Weapons and Tactics for Changing Universal Joints (by Ted Kalvitis, photos by Emily Erekaife)
- Tractor Show: Readers show off their favorites