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Classic Versatile a family project

Fond memories of a D145 Versatile used on the family farm years ago prompted 
Ian Wilson and his sons to find and restore a similar tractor

Standing near his fully restored D145 Versatile four-wheel drive tractor, which was parked in a line of classic machines at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in June, Ian Wilson of Rathwell, Manitoba, explained how fond memories of a D145 his family owned a couple of decades ago prompted him to find another one to restore. Originally, Ian wanted to find the same tractor his family owned, but he wasn’t able to locate it.

“My dad and my uncle owned one in 1967,” he says. “I was four when we bought it in Carman, Manitoba, and I rode home in it with my uncle. I couldn’t find that original tractor. I found this one two years ago in Montana. It was in excellent condition. The farmer was still using it.”

Jerrod (left) Jeff (centre) and Ian (right) Wilson plan to continue showing their tractor at future farm shows.

Jerrod (left) Jeff (centre) and Ian (right) Wilson plan to continue showing their tractor at future farm shows.
photo: Scott Garvey

After hauling the D145 up from Montana, restoring it became a family affair. Ian’s sons Jerrod and Jeff pitched in with the restoration effort. Throughout the past winter, the three spent time in the farm shop working on the engine, along with tackling several hours of body work to spruce up the tractor’s overall appearance.

Fortunately, Ian was able to source some unused, original factory decals from a former dealer, which helped maintain the authenticity of the tractors final appearance.

“We’ve been working on it over the winter,” Ian says. “It took us two or three months. We had to do a little body work, and we did some engine work. We painted it, put new tires on it, sandblasted the whole thing. We got it custom painted, because we wanted a perfect job. Everything on it is original. All the decals and everything are restored to exactly the way it was from the factory.”

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Unlike most tractors of its age, the Wilson’s D145 actually has air conditioning, which still works. “You could buy it and put it on after with the Minntoba cab,” Ian explains.

The family is pretty happy with how the D145 turned out and have plans to continue showing it at events like the Regina show. They also plan to put it to work into their fields occasionally.

“The boys want to play with it on the farm,” says Ian. “We’re going to do a little cultivating and a little harrowing with it. A couple of neighbours told us we could use their Versatile cultivator and harrows, so it’s all matching.”

Unlike the original tractor, this one won’t be leaving the farm after a few years of service. “We’re never going to sell it,” says Ian.

About the author

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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