1935 H5 15-25 Rock Island , one of 54 H5’s that were built in 1935 & into 1936 with the same engine as the early Oliver 80’s. These were some of the last of the last Rock Islands and the first Rock Island we bought after the original family G2 was sold in the 70’s. At the time we bought it, we had no idea how rare it was. It appears there are so far 8 pretty well confirmed total survivors, as well as four of its larger brothers, the H22 which were built off the same engine as an early Oliver 90 (only appears 24 H22’s were built making them one of the rarest of the Rock Islands) .
It was restored by Ron Olsen in Rock Island as a pulling and parade tractor with some questionable decisions made in its restoration. Ron discovered the tractor at Johnson Tractor in Miles IA, where it had been in a fence row. At the time, two other Rock Island H5’s were in the area and I have been told Ron did consult with these owners but in the end decided to make a parade and pulling tractor out of it. Some of the decisions were highly troublesome to restore back to as close to original as possible, The worst was a hole cut in the hood to allow the aircleaner to be installed backwards. having talked to all three local H5 owners who pulled against each other, all three would tell you they out pulled everyone, including the other two.
When we bought the tractor, we really didn’t know what we had or what was needed to be done on it, but as we ran it we found some mechanical issues that were in desperate need of addressing, especially the water pump which had gone from a small leak to a major stream. As we explored that issue, we discovered it had never really been put together correctly and that required a donor from a Hart Parr and machining. Numerous holes and dents were repaired, hood was patched by Scott Peterson, air cleaner replaced, new fan, nuts and bolts replaced and a few other minor fixes including a longer crank to help offset the planed heads Ron put on it for pulling. We did put it back on steel as the wide hub cutoffs do not correctly fit this one, but will fit our H4 which was already on rubber, but also had incorrect hubs. Ron had traded the original steel wheels for the cutoffs. The 46C mag on it worked, but was not actually correct, we finally figured out its actually a Splitdorf CD mag instead of the 46T we had been thinking.