Antique Tractors at Food Lion AutoFair
Hosted by the Stumptown Tractor Club, the event offers tractor owners the opportunity to display such machines as John Deeres, Minneapolis-Molines and Allis-Chalmers alongside the likes of the Kaisers, Studebakers and Chevrolets that are mainstays of the world's largest automotive extravaganza.
Among the tractors will be eight antique John Deeres that have been meticulously restored by Davidson, N.C., resident Richard McIntosh and his sons, Richard Jr. and Scott.
"I grew up with a Model B John Deere here on the farm," the 68-year-old McIntosh said when asked about his love for John Deere tractors. "We were just poor old farmers and any time you had something break, you had to fix it because you didn't have the money to have somebody else to fix it.
"Somehow, the transmission in the old B John Deere got messed up. We weren't about to go back to horses, so we took it apart," McIntosh recalled. "Me, my twin brother and my older brother took it apart and found the shaft down in the bottom was broke. We went to a John Deere dealer, got the part, put it in and everything worked fine. That was the first work we ever did on equipment, but from then on we fixed everything."
McIntosh eventually left the 135-acre family farm in Davidson. He lived in Virginia and Georgia before moving back home in 1977.
"That old Model B John Deere got away while I was out working," he said. "I tried to find it, but never have."
Despite growing up on a farm, McIntosh never was a full-time farmer. He has always toiled with tractors, but worked 35 years for Trans-Continental Gas Co. before retiring in 1992.
"I really got into messing with tractors as a hobby in 1990. I bought a couple here and couple yonder. I would go somewhere and find them sitting in the edge of a field with weeds growing up around them," McIntosh said.
McIntosh said he and his sons now own "17 or 18 antique tractors, but they're not all restored. Several of them are the way I purchased them, they're pretty rough."
In addition to working on his own tractors, McIntosh also restores tractors for friends.
"I've got one in here now that I'm helping a friend restore," he said. "It's a 600 Ford and he's got a John Deere out here too and we're going to redo it for him one of these days."
The popularity of restoring and collecting antique tractors has skyrocketed in recent years and McIntosh and his sons attend numerous shows each year.
"I enjoy meeting people that do the same thing I like," he said. "Two weeks ago I was at a show in Portland, Ind. I didn't take the tractors, but I found a part I had been looking for for three years. You have more fun chasing the parts than doing the actual restoration.
"Collecting cars, trucks or tractors is basically the same thing. In fact, I have some antique cars and trucks too," McIntosh noted.
With a building full of John Deere tractors, which one is missing from McIntosh's collection?
"Really, I've got about all of them," he said. "It's just a question of which one I want to fix next."
Other attractions scheduled for Sept. 15-18 Food Lion AutoFair are a display of movie and television cars, a 50th anniversary gathering of cars powered by Chevrolet's small-block engine, a display of military vehicles celebrating the 230th birthday of the U.S. Army and an automotive art gallery.
The four-day event also includes various makes and models from some 50 car clubs; more than 8,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia; a collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack; and a car corral which completely circles the 1.5-mile superspeedway with cars available for sale or trade.
Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5.
For information, contact the speedway events department at 704-455-3205 or click here.