I cannot bring the tractor to the show but here is my story about it.
The Farmall 826 that I have was purchased new by my father from TRYAC Truck and Equipment in Riverhead, NY. I do not know the price he paid or the exact date of purchase. I do know that it was delivered to the farm sometime during the winter of 1972-73. Interestingly, the serial number indicates that it was made in late 1970. Why there was that much time in between is unknown to me.
We had mostly Oliver tractors up until then and I don’t know if my father considered buying an Oliver at that time or not. I do know that he had talked to the John Deere dealer who was putting up the 4000 as the competing model.
I was seventeen at the time and on many days after school that winter I walked up to the barn where it was parked. I’d stand there, looking in awe of this big, new, shiny red IH tractor that had more muscle than any other tractor we had until then. Dad bought the 826 to be his new plow tractor and bought an IH rollover plow to go with it. It replaced the Oliver Streamline style gas 88 that had served him so well over the years.
Three things about the 826 stand out in my mind. First, it was very hard to start in cold weather. Second was that it was very efficient in fuel use. Lastly, to my knowledge, it was pretty trouble free with no major repairs needed.
In 2007 my father decided it was finally time to stop farming and have an auction of all his trucks, tractors and equipment. He decided to keep the 826 and a rotary mower to keep the edges of the farm trimmed up. He also kept one of his Oliver 77s that had a bucket loader on it, “in case he needed to push some dirt around”. I had moved away more than twenty years earlier but came home to help my father get the equipment cleaned up and ready for the auction.
It was difficult watching as the tractors, equipment and trucks were sold off; each a small part of the younger man that had enjoyed driving and operating them during his days on the farm. I told myself that I was not going to miss the chance to keep the 826. I called my father and said I wanted to buy it from him whenever he was done with it. “As far as I’m concerned, you can have it when I’m done with it” was his reply.
After my father passed away eight years later, I made arrangements to have the 826 and the 77 hauled six hours away to where I live in Pennsylvania. I built a second garage at my house to keep both tractors in and serve as a shop in which I would start to restore them both when I retired. So far I have spent most of my time working on the 77 which was in need of more repairs. I will eventually get working on the 826 and once again stand and look at that big, red, shiny IH tractor; maybe not so much in awe this time, but more to embrace my heritage. I have since been able to reacquire our other Oliver 77 that my father sold in 2007. But the 826 is still the only one that has continuously been in the family since my father bought it new.
The photo of the 826 with the 370 disk was taken at the home farm in 2002. The photo of it parked in my shop was taken in 2019. The photo of my brother (standing) and I was taken in 2016, a few months before I hauled it to its current home.