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Russ' Vintage Iron
Russ Quinn 7/19 4:51 AM

OMAHA (DTN) -- I am quite certain the major appeal of restoring and collecting vintage farm machinery is the eternal connection to past generations. People remember their family members or neighbors running a certain tractor or implement, and this is why they want to find the same machine decades later.

It may seem silly to some that a 70-year-old tractor can stir such emotions in now-older farmers, but when a family works together with this equipment, it really becomes more than just a piece of equipment. These tractors are not very useful on the farm today, but to these families, these machines are also an invaluable living memory.

You may have seen a post on social platform X recently of a simple laminated sign, such as the photo posted by @TractorZoom that appears with this column. At the top it says, "Please Help!" and tells the story of "Scott" looking for his father's Farmall Super M tractor, complete with a serial number and his phone number to call if you have any information about the tractor.

I was curious to know about this photo, which I have seen a couple of different times on X, so I decided I would call the phone number. It turns out "Scott" is Scott McManus, a farmer and International machinery enthusiast from Fulton, South Dakota.

Scott, 66, farms with his twin sons, Jeremy and Jordan, 34, not too far from Mitchell, which is, of course, known as the home of the famous Corn Palace. The McManus family grows corn, soybeans and winter wheat; they also raise cattle.

Scott attended the National Red Power Show in Spencer, Iowa, in June with his fully restored 1957 International 450 tractor that once belonged to his late grandfather George Lienemann.

Scott posted the laminated sign at the show, and someone must have taken a photo of it. Since then, the photo has been retweeted many times, and McManus said he has talked to "a lot" of people about his request.

"I'm not even sure who even took this photo," Scott told me. "But I'm glad they did and put on the internet."

The story behind the Farmall Super M (serial number 12885) is that his father, Chester, bought it new after he got home from the Korean War. Scott believes it is a 1953 model, but his dad didn't buy it until 1954.

Scott farmed with his father his whole life, and the vintage red tractor was a staple on their farm -- up until one day in 1999, when his father decided to trade in the tractor for a baler from Scott Supply in nearby Mitchell.

When he decided to trace where this tractor went many years later, he discovered it was sold to Weiman Auctions of Marion, South Dakota, and after they sold it, the trail ends. The auction company did not have the buyer's name.

Scott said he really began searching for it actively the last few years and remains hopeful he can locate it. The fact it was his father's tractor makes the search worth it, he said.

His father Chester passed away in 2013.

"I know it is a needle-in-the-haystack type of deal, but I will keep looking for it," he said.

After his sign made the rounds this summer on the internet, he has heard from many different people in different locations.

Those with this model of tractor have checked their own tractor's serial numbers and reported back to him. Whenever he goes to a show, he always checks out the serial numbers of the Super Ms at the show.

He said the office workers at Wieman Auctions have called him to tell him they are going back into their records again and are trying to find information of where the tractor went. He even had a large tractor salvage yard in Salem, South Dakota, call him and tell him they searched all of the Super M tractors in their yard, and none of the machines there matched his serial number.

Scott said he is kind of overwhelmed at all the attention his sign has gotten on the internet. He also appreciated all the people helping him look for his dad's Super M, he told me.

"It really did just kind of blow up over the last few weeks," he said.

Maybe Scott's story is appealing to me personally because I, too, always wanted to find my late grandpa's 1946 Farmall M tractor. I don't even have that tractor's serial number, so my chances are slim I will ever find it. But let me know if you bought a mid-1940s Farmall M tractor at a farm equipment auction near Kennard, Nebraska, in the late 1970s.

But maybe you can help Scott out. Again, he is searching for a 1953 Farmall Super M with the serial number 12885, originally from the Mitchell, South Dakota, area. Scott's number is (605) 770-8516. Please contact him or me if you have any information about this tractor.

I really hope we can help Scott find his dad's Super M.

Russ Quinn can be reached at Russ.Quinn@dtn.com

Follow him on social platform X @RussQuinnDTN

 
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