“Burns A Little Oil, Runs Good”

Published on Thu, 07/16/2015 - 3:27pm

1958 Oliver 950 Gas Model

   The auction listing stated the 1958 Oliver 950 gas tractor was “in very good condition, burns a little oil, runs good…” all of which caught the fancy of the late John A. Swanson of Rio, Ill. It was evident the tractor had at least a partial restoration at some point, but being a “wheatland” style tractor to add to his sizable Oliver collection, it was worth a shot.

Putting in the winning bid, he shipped the tractor home, but he quickly learned what “burns a little oil” meant: after plowing for two hours, it had burnt two quarts! Disappointed, John parked it for an entire year before finally delivering it to a shop to tear down the engine. It turned out the engine was the wrong block for the tractor, the pistons and sleeves had been made to fit, and pieces of them were found in the oil pan.

After locating the correct block and paying for a complete overhaul, it was like a brand new engine. Why go to the trouble? It’s a rare model. The tractor is one of 71 Oliver Model 950 gas tractors produced between 1958 and 1961. It was even displayed at the national Oliver Hart-Parr convention in South Bend, Ind. in 2013.