An old Farmall tractor in the Walshe family since new in the early 1930s, has been lovingly restored.

Now owned by Joe Walshe of Tipapakuku, the tractor is "pretty special," he says.

"I don't think there would be anyone out there with a tractor of this age which has been in their family since new," he said.

Joe's father bought the Farmall new in 1932 when he gave up using horses for work on his Umutaoroa farm.

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"My grandfather sat on it for a photo, but he was a horses man, never had a driver's licence and never drove the tractor," Joe said.

In the 1940s Joe's cousin Terry, now 94, drove the Farmall to press hay.

Joe Walshe's grandfather on the 1932 McCormack Farmall tractor. Photo / Supplied
Joe Walshe's grandfather on the 1932 McCormack Farmall tractor. Photo / Supplied

"I lived at Tataramoa and had a little Model A truck I'd drive to Umutaoroa to do the hay," he said. "The Farmall was very reliable, but I needed a sack over the iron seat. It wasn't comfortable."

"It was a real reliable workhorse," Joe said. "When I was young in the 1940s when the electricity went off, as it did quite often in those days, the Farmall would be hooked up to the milking plant and farmers brought their cows to our place to milk.

"We had the biggest herd around then, about 100, but up to five herds could go through the shed when the power went out. The farmers would collect the milk in cans and take it back home for collection." Terry now lives in Palmerston North but was back in Dannevirke last week to admire the restoration work his cousin Joe had put into the tractor, which began in 1990.

"It had seized up and my father said I could have it if I got it going again," Joe said. "I re-registered it in 1990 and it's been a challenge to keep it going because it's pretty hard to get parts now. In 1998 it burst its manifold and I had to wait for a new part to come from the United States. Many of the old mechanics and engineers who worked on it have gone now."

Joe said the restoration has been a labour of love.

"We used an endless chain to haul out the motor and I had a block of wood adapted to tap out the pistons," he said. "I've have to do that every day to unseize them." But 86 years on, the old Farmall runs well and Joe still uses the original crank handle to start it up.

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The tractor was in a number of Dannevirke Christmas parades, the first in 1991 when it saved the day for the Dannevirke Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Joe Walshe on the Farmall in 1991, hauling the Dannevirke Fire Brigade's engine out of trouble at the Services and Citizens children's picnic. Photo / Supplied
Joe Walshe on the Farmall in 1991, hauling the Dannevirke Fire Brigade's engine out of trouble at the Services and Citizens children's picnic. Photo / Supplied

"The brigade was giving kids at the Services and Citizens Club picnic rides when an underground water course collapsed," Joe said.

"The Christmas parade had just finished, so they asked me to help out by hauling the fire engine to safety."

Today, the Farmall looks as good as the day it first arrived at the Walshe farm 86 years ago.