Nyel’s Ford 8N

May 4, 2010 | 1 comment

Nyel and the Ford 8N

     About fifteen years ago, we journeyed to Molalla, Oregon where Nyel bought an old Ford 8N tractor.  Trailering it back to Oysterville was a scary story in itself, but we all arrived safely and our tractor adventure began in earnest.  Little did I know that our life would take on a whole new dimension.
     First of all, Ford 8Ns were made from 1947 to 1952 and became the top-selling individual tractor model of all time in North America.  They were equipped with running boards, were painted gray on the sheet metal and red on the body and were known as the ‘Red Belly’ model. The 8N was the first Ford tractor to feature a clutch on the left and independent brakes on the right.  Nyel was in seventh heaven with his new acquisition.
     Soon, we were getting the “N-News: The Magazine for the Ford Tractor Enthusiast.”  We began watching “Classic Tractor Fever” on RFD Channel.  And, of necessity, Nyel took up tinkering. Not that the tractor didn’t perform wonderfully some of the time!  We were living on the bay about a mile south of Oysterville then and Nyel and the 8N were able to keep our field mowed and could deal with the potholes in our gravel road. 
     Occasionally, the needs of the tractor were beyond him and he would take it to Guelfi’s Service Station in Ocean Park.  (Guelfi’s was the last of the real service stations at the north end of the peninsula.  Ed Guelfi could fix almost any tractor – or car! – problem.  Plus he pumped gas.  None of that serve-yourself nonsense.)  When we moved into the family house in Oysterville, the tractor moved with us.
     In town, the 8N took on a somewhat more glamorous persona.  She ‘lived’ in the meadow in front of our house and became another of the village tourist attractions.  Old farmers stopped and talked to Nyel about her.  Parents had their kids climb on her and pose for photographs.  Artists set up their easels and painted her portrait.
     She eventually stopped running altogether.  By that time Ed Guelfi had moved back to New York and Nyel couldn’t find anyone interested in reviving her.  We began to have discussions as to whether she was ‘yard art’ or an ‘attractive nuisance.’  Finally, we found a buyer who wanted her for parts.  Sold!  But not without a lot of angst and soul-searching

1 Comment

  1. Judy McNeal

    What a great tractor and wonderful story! Thanks!

    I’ll bet my Grandpa had one on the North Dakota farmstead.

    I am a Ford girl all the way!


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