By Robert Noles
On the last Saturday in April, friends and family of Opelika native Steve Sasser gathered at Lambert Transfer and Storage awaiting the homecoming of a 1951 John Deere Model B tractor.
Sasser had been waiting five years for this day. His eyes gleamed with joy as he reminisced about his boyhood days spent on the tractor bush hogging at the farm with with friend Carlton Hunley and cousin Craig Mangram.
Sasser believes his father and grandmother purchased the tractor in Tuskegee. Following his grandmother’s passing years ago, Sasser inherited the tractor.
In March 2014, Sasser said he knew it was time to do something with the tractor and was able to contact Pat Terry of Selma, North Carolina, who restores old tractors to their former glory.
This model tractor was built from 1935 to 1952 and was one of that era’s most popular tractors, because of their design and durability.
One of the tractor’s unique features is gravity feed fuel system. It was equipped with two gas fuel tanks, one with high octane to start the tractor and a large regular gas tank to help it run. Instead of a distributor, it had a magneto to help make a spark.
The eight-hour trip took longer than expected, but once it did, everyone was all smiles.
Mangram tried out the tractor seat and Sasser and Terry inspected the tractor and discussed continued care of the tractor.