Last summer I added a nice Cub to my collection. The sweet little machine didn’t stay in my possession long though. A former owner realized his mistake, in letting the tractor get away. He managed to negotiate a deal, to get it back. I’m not going to reveal who owns the Cub, to protect his privacy. He doesn’t need tractor sleuths bothering him to prove my speculation wrong.
The tractor did not have a readable identification tag. That was something I would want to remedy, mainly for insurance identification. I like to protect my collection as much as I can. They are a monetary investment.
There was a ID tag on the tractor. Someone had painted over it . Luckily I learned a few tricks to read the old tag, and I know a guy. Doug Edwards, of course is to whom I refer.
To read the tag, it had to be removed. Sometimes its a simple matter of discovering the stamped numbers from the back. The tag is generally paper thin, held on to the casting by rivets.
I removed the tag, soaked it in paint thinner, gently went at it with a wire brush. I was satisfied to discover a number, which I took for a 1974 serial number. I wasn’t completely sure I was correct. I determined through logic. The grill style and paint coloring made the age logical.
If you read my articles you know I’m not the most mechanically apt. I take advantage of specialists friends. I don’t have the stamping tools to press the VIN number on a new tag. Replacements tags are easily purchased though. You can order through Steiner or better yet hook up with your local parts dealer.
The number I discovered was heavily debated. Doug has means of cleaning the old tag better than I could. The old piece of metal was passed around before we all finally agreed what the serial number read. My estimate was challenged. If the number we discovered was correct the tractor was built in 59.
That didn’t make sense though! Cubs in 59 were red and didn’t have a square grill. It was time to do more research.
I’m going to stop at this point of my story. During other research, I discovered that records were destroyed to keep them from the competitors. This is sad and annoying for historical research. I would imagine all the manufactures had their secrets.
It’s interesting to note, that paint schemes were altered around the same time periods. Harvester painted their machines red and white about the same year Deere started painting green and yellow. Oliver hid new ideas under the tin work of their recent models. I can list more examples, but its obvious where I’m going with my thoughts.
There are other means of discovering the build date on tractors. Parts used in particular years and what not. Did I do that? No, I was going to, but I don’t have the tractor now. To be honest it REALLY doesn’t matter. Regardless, if I’m right or not, the Cub is a sweet little machine.
Disclaimer and purely speculation on my part. (please chalk this up to an author’s active imagination.)
Could the little tractor actually be a 59? Lets look at some interesting facts. Cubs were introduced in the 40s and built in Louisville KY. I did find out the tractor came out of the factory in other colors besides red. They would be painted to customer specifications. The square grill wasn’t introduced until the late 60’s That’s also the time when they became International Cubs instead of Farmall.
In 1961 Cub Cadet was introduced. The Cub original was built in Louisville. There are a lot of similarities between the small and large tractors. Grill, paint scheme. Early 60’s was the time when the tractor manufactures jumped in the urban market. They all patterned the little tractors to look like field tractors, .
Maybe Harvester was thinking about clientele with estates. Maybe they were thinking about the restyling as early as 59. It may have taken a couple years, of tests before anything came off the assembly line, in mass . Maybe some Cubs rolled off the line with a new look. My research did allude to the possibilities.
I openly admit, I can be proven wrong, but it’s fun to think about. To bad some of the historical records have been lost for our future to know for sure.