Graham Bradley tractors aren’t the most common type tractor to collect. My sources have told me that only 300 to 500 are known to still exist. They were only built for about 3 years and didn’t number much more than 2000 coming off the assembly line.
This article will mainly focus on model 503-104 serial number 70077. A standard model manufactured in 1938. The 70000 series designates special significance. The final assembly occurred in Canada. Graham-Paige Motor Co had an assembly plant in Walker Ontario. Tractors built in Canada were not subject to imposed tariffs.
No records can be found to indicate how many standards were actually built, but the modern registry for Graham Bradley tractors only know of maybe 35 left in existence. Of that, maybe 6 are Canadian. Ironically, I discovered another one nearby. Owned by the Elliot family of Godfrey, IL
Another Canadian standard. I met the Elliot family, that owns this one, recently at a tractor show held in Carlinville.
The Sears store in Fargo, ND was a major distribution point for Grahams in the western states. The catalog may not have featured farm equipment, but a tractor could be purchased from the store. 70077, more than likely, found it’s way to the western United States transported by train.
From this point the tractor’s history is clouded. It was used, out west and possibly left abandoned, in Oregon, to an undetermined fate.
Dennis Brown from Edina, MN was the first man to see a diamond in the rough. He purchased the tractor on an antique machinery auction on July 27, 2012. Dennis started the initial work before becoming ill. Unfortunately he passed away. Dennis’ brother Doug then picked up the project.
The tractor didn’t run and had major issues. The block was cracked. This problem was professionally handled by a company in Nevada, IA. Karen Brown, Dennis’ widow shared further information telling me Doug was a detective finding parts and resources to bring the old machine back to life. Doug handled the project as an act of love.
One major resource the Brown family used restoring was the skilled help from Gene Meschke from Mankato, MN. Another asset was Herman Speck, from Vernon Center, MN. These two gentlemen had a hand in helping the tractor regain life.
James Fred was also a valuable resource for both Dennis and Doug. I’ve discovered James is a great resource considering all his great guidance in researching my writing.
Above is a YouTube link I discovered that was published by Audrey Simmons. It shows 70077 finally running and moving. I can imagine that was a very satisfying experience for the Brown family.
The Graham changed owners at this point. Kurt Aumann purchased the tractor and commissioned Doug Edwards, Edwards Tractor Restoration, to give it a like new appearance.
70077 enters Doug’s shop for the final phase of its return
Doug and crew have been working to give it a like new appearance.
Finally the tractor is finished! Doug finished and of course like any good test pilot, or parachute packer, took the Graham Bradley for a test run to insure his great work.
Great work Doug! Actually great work to everyone involved. Kurt Aumann should be proud to have this fine machine.
Thanks to everyone that contributed help to my research. I learned alot of Graham Bradley history from James Fred and Keith Ladage. Thanks gentlemen for your patience in answering questions. Thank you Karen Brown for your information via email. Dennis and Doug Brown deserves the most credit for saving it from a fate of becoming scrap
Photography credit also belongs to Doug Edwards.