A Tractor Restoration carried out by a young enthusiast

Let me introduce you to Jason McCallum, a passionate young tractor enthusiast who is undertaking the complicated task of renovating an old timer.

Jason is a very enthusiastic young man, coming originally from Ashington in Northumberland but now living near Morpeth.

Not having an agricultural background, it was interesting to find out how he has become super enthusiastic about tractors and especially vintage/classic tractors and their renovation.

 

Early experience with military equipment

 Jason had always been interested in engineering and has a natural talent for it. His first big experience with engineering was at 15 when he started a part time job with a military equipment collector called Turboventure. There he was able to work on machines such as the FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier and three Chieftain Tanks. 

Apprentice Agricultural Engineer

Jason then started work as a pharmacy technician as he had a good aptitude for science, but that was not his passion. At 17 he met his partner whose father, Robert, owned a farm. It was Robert who stimulated Jason’s interest in tractors, first of all with the ones he owned at the time (A New Holland T6, an International 474 and International 585). While being a pharmacy technician, Jason came home every night and would; work on a car. During each day his mind would be working out what he was going to do that night on the car. At the start of the Corona Virus outbreak in 2019 Jason mulled over what he wanted to make of his life and decided to quit his job as a pharmacy technician and applied for a job as an apprentice agricultural engineer with Thomas Sherriff (A John Deere specialist in the North of England). His application was successful and he began work in the Cramlington branch working on lawn mowers where he excelled in his training getting distinction grades in all his exams (achieving an average of 95% over all the exams). The pharmacy technicians’ job wasn’t really Jason’s cup of tea but as an agricultural engineer apprentice he blossomed, gaining confidence and boosting his personal happiness and mental wellbeing.

From lawn mowers to tractors

As he grew in confidence and experience, Jason knew that he wanted to work with more than lawn mowers and took the decision to ask if he could be moved to an agricultural depot. As luck would have it there was a vacancy at the Hexham branch and because he had such high grades, he was successful in his request. Once at Hexham, Jason was in his element and has learned such a lot from his peers and the manager there and has gained a great deal of experience in a relatively short time. His enthusiasm for tractors was stimulated into such a point that now its his passion. Jason lives and breathes tractors, spending nights watching videos and researching information about old tractors, especially the International Harvester and John Deere ranges.

 

Jason buys his first tractor

Jason’s father-in-law told him many stories about all the tractors he has owned during his time on the farm. This kindled a flame inside Jason and got him thinking about buying his own tractor and tackling a renovation job. He started to look for suitable tractors to buy and to work on in September of 2021. On visiting the National ploughing Championships at Mindrum Mill in Northumberland in the autumn of that year and on seeing the superb vintage tractors there Jasons determination to buy one to ‘do up’ was sharpened. 

Jason started looking around in earnest for a suitable project to work on and found several very cheap tractors, most of which were beyond repair. However, he found one that looked very promising, an International 574 belonging to someone who had several tractors that weren’t running. He made arrangement to buy and collect the tractor but to his disappointment was let down badly by the owner who pulled out at the last minute. This was a big disappointment for Jason as he had his heart set on restoring an International. However as one door closes another opens and by chance another International came on the market soon afterwards – a B 414 which he snapped up immediately.

He arranged to borrow a trailer, collected it and toom it to Robert, his father in laws farm where he put a bale wrap around it for a few days until he had time to start work. The tractor had stood outside for 20+ years and was in need of a lot of TLC and work.

All photos on this page by kind permission of Jason McCallum