Blog Series Icon


The Funny Farmall M with green paint…


Ryan Roossinck

June 06, 2024

Green Farmall M

Green Farmall M – TZ Listing

So I was poking around on Tractor Zoom yesterday when this tractor made me do a double-take. My inner monologue was like, “Um, that’s a Farmall M…and it’s painted green. Why?”

Orr Auctioneers

Browse all equipment from Orr Auctioneers

Find additional farm equipment for sale from Orr Auctioneers in Jamestown, ND.

Believe it or not, I ask myself this question a lot more than you’d probably expect. Sometimes owners do interesting things to their tractors. I’m sure they have perfectly good reasons, too. However, there’s rarely an explanation in the auctioneer’s description and oftentimes that leaves me scratching my head.

So I picked up the phone and called Troy Orr, the auctioneer selling this tractor, and asked him. Without missing a beat, he chuckled and replied, “Well, that’s what ya gotta do to improve the resale value on these red tractors, man. You’ve been doing this for long enough to know that green paint brings more at auction!”

I laughed out loud, and said, “Touché, Troy,” and we both had a good laugh at the joke!

At the end of the day, though, he didn’t know why this Farmall M was painted green. However, he did give me the contact information for Dennis Clark, the farmer who’s consigning it (along with two other Farmalls – a sharp 450 and another M in its work clothes).

So I picked up the phone and called him, determined to get to the bottom of this.

Dennis Clark’s green Farmall M…

Farmall M
International Harvester hired famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy to design the Farmall “Letter Series” tractors in the late 1930s. I feel like he’d probably be turning over in his grave if he saw this one… (Photo: Orr Auctioneers)

I had a nice conversation with Dennis yesterday morning. We had a nice conversation about his farming career as well as a little tractor pulling as well. As it turns out, he was a row crop farmer who raised cattle for most of his life. He retired from full-time farming about ten years ago, and his son has been running the operation ever since. He still gets a little seat time in the equipment; as he put it, “As soon as my son took over, I got demoted to rock-picker! I still get to play with tractors, though, so that’s good enough for me.”

After a few minutes of small-talk, I asked him about the green M.

He told me that when he retired, he started building and restoring tractors for fun. Over the years, he restored a nice 4020 Power Shift, a Farmall 450 (which is also on this auction), and an Oliver 1555. He also built this green Farmall M for local antique tractor pulls.

It wasn’t always green…

“The M had been on our farm since about 1975,” he told me, “I picked it up at a dealership in Jamestown, and put it right to work feeding cattle. At the time, I didn’t have a mixer wagon. So, I pulled the hopper off of an old combine, put some running gear under it, and made my own feeder wagon. That tractor was perfectly-sized for it, too; we fed 180 head of cattle with that setup for years until we upgraded. After that, however, the M didn’t do an awful lot. So, when I retired, I decided to turn it into a pulling tractor and a tractor-ride tractor.”

Dennis took a C264 gas engine from a Farmall 400 and built it up a little bit with an M&W High-Altitude piston kit. This gave him a little more power and displacement – I believe that the bigger pistons and skinnier sleeves upped the displacement to 281 cubic inches. I’m fairly sure he told me that he replaced the carb with something a little hotter, too. At any rate, when he bolted it into the frame, it dyno’d at 65 horse on the PTO shaft. Pretty good numbers for a hot-rod Farmall M!

Farmall M
Dennis turned his retired Farmall M into something of a toy, and the green paint made it into something fun that grabbed a lot of attention. (Photo: Orr Auctioneers)

The “Hold my beer” moment…

For most of his career, the majority of Dennis Clark’s farm equipment was green – save for the Farmall M and an IH 815 combine. However, one of his neighbors just down the road was a die-hard red guy. Well, he stopped by one day while Dennis was working on the M, and as it usually does…the red/green rivalry came up. So he decided to have a little fun with the neighbor, and casually mentioned that he was going to paint it John Deere green.

Well, to hear Dennis tell it, the neighbor’s reaction didn’t disappoint.

“He looked at me, jaw on the floor of my shop, and said ‘Bullsh*t. You’d never paint that tractor green…'”

Dennis grinned and said, “You just wait!”

And a few weeks later, Dennis’s hot-rod Farmall M rolled out of the shop with a snazzy new coat of green paint with yellow accents in all the right places.

“Hold my beer” moments are fun, aren’t they?

Since then…

Farmall M
Dennis’s green Farmall M draws attention wherever it goes! (Photo: Orr Auctioneers)

Since the day he finally rolled it out of the shop, Dennis’s green Farmall M tends to draw a bit of a crowd. It has placed in the top five for Best Appearing Tractor at a KFYR tractor drive in the area at least once. It’s also no slouch on the pulling track, either. Dennis has a handful of first and second-place trophies from the pulling days! He told me that on a hard-packed pulling track, it’s very competitive (I suspect in the 5000ish pound classes). On a dry, loose track, it struggles because it doesn’t have enough rear end weight and it breaks the tires loose.

However, as with all good things, the tractor ride and tractor pulling days are behind him. At age 80, Dennis wants to slow down a bit. He told me, “Y’know, it’s getting harder to climb up on the tractor, and I need to start getting rid of some of my stuff anyway. It’s time for somebody else to have some fun with it.”

The tractor runs and drives very well, and I think it could go back to work if the new owner wanted it to. It’s got an M&W hand clutch kit for live PTO, which is always handy (for instance, if you were to go feed cattle with it the way Dennis did for so many years). It’s got fresh Firestones all the way around, too!

Wrapping up

green Farmall M
Troy Orr sent me this photo yesterday with the caption, “This is the family that it ran away from…” That’s Dennis’s Farmall 450 in the background. (Photo: Orr Auctioneers)

I asked Dennis who the perfect buyer for this tractor was, in his opinion. Without hesitating, he said, “I just want to know that whomever buys this tractor plans on taking care of it and continuing to enjoy it like I did.” In a perfect world, I think he’d like them to keep the green paint, too, but he knows that at the end of the day he has no control over any of that – and that’s fine by him.

What’s it worth? Hard tellin’. You can pay pretty much anything you want for a Farmall M – we’ve got records in our Tractor Zoom Pro database as low as a couple hundred bucks up to over $13,000. Seems like over the past year, the nicer ones with straight, clean sheet metal have been selling in the $3000-4000 neighborhood, so I would imagine that it should fall somewhere in that range.

I’ll say this – if you’re looking for an M and you don’t get too hung up on the green paint, this would be a heck of a runner for whatever the price turns out to be! It’ll be interesting to see what this tractor sells for when the bidding wraps up on June 11, that’s for sure!

One last thing…

Harmon Preparation H II
How many of you old-skool Pro Stock pulling fans saw Dennis’s tractor and were reminded of Tom Harmon’s Preparation H II? I know I was! (Photo: The Harmon family)

When we were on the phone, I told Dennis that he wasn’t the only one to have ever done this. Tom Harmon, a tractor puller from North Branch, MI, campaigned an IH 966 called Preparation H II on the NTPA Grand National Pro Stock circuit for years in the 90s. Actually, he had several different paint schemes involving green paint on that tractor – and they were all very well-done. The Harmon family doesn’t own it anymore, and it’s been returned to a more traditional red paint scheme as a Super Farm.

The Preparation H name still lives on, though.

Harmon Preparation H3 - IH 650
After selling the 966, they built a new Pro Stock that wears some of the most unique sheet metal in all of tractor pulling – IH 650. I really wish we got to see it a little more, because it’s really sharp!

Anyway, make it a great week, folks! Go find some Interesting Iron of your own!

Farmall tractors for sale

Email Address

Find an auctioneer and dealer near you


Farm Equipment Financing & Loans


Discover why ag equipment buyers are choosing Tractor Zoom as the go-to-platform for securing their next equipment loan.

Farm Equipment Financing

Tractor Zoom is connecting farm equipment sellers and buyers faster than ever before. Finding farm equipment at auction or at a dealership has never been so easy.

Copyright © 2024 Tractor Zoom Inc. All Rights Reserved