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  • Writer's pictureElkhorn Peak Cellars

Tractor Tale #2

Ken with his "new" tractor, a 1978 Fiat Crawler. It was taken on February 7, 2020.
Ken with his "new" tractor, a 1978 Fiat Crawler. It was taken on February 7, 2020.

When Ken bought this tractor 6 weeks ago, it was clear it had seen many miles and better days. It'd been sitting for 15 years, it was rusty with heavy grease and had mud caked on its tracks from past job sites. But Ken wasn't deterred by the tractor's exterior, and neither was his grandson, Noah (age 3). Fixer-uppers are Ken's specialty; he saw past the rust, grease, and dirt and had a vision of bringing this classic piece of machinery back to life. Ken likes the old farm equipment because it's built better and lasts longer. He refers to older tractors as "real pieces of machinery."

It took 3 hours to powerwash the Fiat clean. After that, Ken did a full tune-up, and new paint job. Today, the '78 Fiat Crawler is the newest (and shiniest) member of our tractor fleet and will be an important asset future growing season.

Crawlers run on tracks instead of wheels. This affords them better traction on steep vineyard terrain, and is safer than a wheel tractor. They're also heavier pieces of machinery, positioned lower to the ground, making them less likely to flip (compared to a wheel tractor). And the power...this little Fiat has 65 horsepower. By comparison, Ken's wheel tractor has 39 horsepower; it's a pretty powerful little machine. We'll use the Fiat this season for mowing, spraying, and disc'ing.

"It runs great now. It'll be my main tractor this growing season. I can't wait to put something behind it and give it a test."-Ken

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