I live in Monroe Michigan on a hobby farm and am retired. I was born and raised here in Monroe. Monroe is the home of General George Armstrong Custer, “Monroe” shock absorbers and “La-Z-Boy” furniture. I live on a portion of the farm originally purchased by my ancestors in 1845. I have lived here my entire life other than the time that I was honored and privileged to serve my country with the 7th Army in Europe during the Berlin crisis and the cold war with Russia. My wife Jean and I have a son Brad, his wife Cheri and their daughter’s Kayla and Courtney. We also have a daughter Lori and her husband Jeff Nocella and their children Julie and John. Our grandchildren are truly the light of our life. My career has always been engineering oriented and I have always enjoyed engineering challenges. Having worked as a mechanic and a machinist I eventually entered the furniture industry for my career. I retired after thirty-one years from La-Z-Boy Incorporated with the title of Vice President, Product Planning and
Marvin Baumann 1955
Development, a position I held for sixteen years. In the early years of my career I was a mechanic specializing in the Ford flathead engines and later in Chevy V8’s. I was involved in stock car racing the Ford flathead engines and drag raced the Chevrolet V8’s. I was a member of (NHRA) the National Hot Rod Association and a registered (NASCAR) National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing mechanic. I also operated a body shop specializing in customizing automobiles. With my mechanical background and my impending retirement I was searching for a hobby that would allow me utilize my talents in a mechanical way. My original intention was to restore a Camaro. That ended when I attended the National Camaro Convention and I observed the judging. That ended my desire to be involved with a hobby when judging is involved. I wanted a hobby where I could have a good time and camaraderie with fellow enthusiasts without the competition of judging. I had an 8-N Ford tractor that I was using on my farm. The more I worked on the little 8-N, the more I liked it and thought I would like to restore one. There was an antique farm tractor auction coming up in Ohio that had a couple of 8-Ns listed, so with an earnest desire to own another one I attended the sale. I picked out the best one and bought it. Then I started attending tractor shows to gain restoration knowledge only to discover that there aren’t very many Ford tractors restored and shown, they are all still in the fields. Because of their low profile and small size they are ideal for a hobby farmer with small acreage. I bought every book that was written on Ford tractors. I then proceeded to restore my first tractor; it took me all winter to complete the first restoration. When spring came I was off to the tractor shows. I got a lot of compliments on my restoration but I noticed the real interest of the Ford tractor enthusiasts was in something else.

When the 8-N tractor was introduced it was a well-liked tractor but it lacked horsepower to pull a three-bottom plow. Enter Funk Aircraft Company into the picture with a Ford V-8 flathead conversion kit to replace the four cylinder engine and significantly increase the horsepower. There were only a couple hundred of these conversion kits made and a very few have survived the years of use. This is the most highly collectable of all the Ford 8-N tractors. The Ford tractor enthusiasts love these Funk conversions at the tractor shows. The deep throb of any V-8 engine without a muffler or only a straight pipe gets the adrenaline flowing. Well, with only a slim chance of ever finding a Funk conversion I set out to do my own conversion for a show tractor. Using my experience from the past I picked up where I left off several years ago and proceeded to fit a 350 cubic inch Chevy V-8 engine into a little Ford 8-N tractor. It took me the entire winter but when the shows started in the spring I was there with my original restoration as well as my Chevy / Ford V-8-N. Needless to say the conversion garnered most of the attention. The compliments far outweighed the criticism but the number one criticism was that it was not a Ford engine in the Ford 8-N. Well back to the drawing board, I had planned to continue my restoration work anyway so why not put a Ford overhead valve engine into an 8-N. In a short time I purchased a Ford 351cubic inch Windsor engine. I completely overhauled it and it is now nestled between the transmission and front axle of an 8-N. After that it was the Chrysler 318 cubic inch conversion in an 8-N. Then to restore more stock 8-N’s until my total show tractors now number, nine. The goal I established for myself when I started this hobby was to restore one tractor a year for ten years after retirement. In 2003 I completed my tenth restored tractor. I do all of my own mechanical work as well as painting. About the same time I got started with my tractor collection I also got interested in collecting Ford automobile, truck and tractor hand tools. These are the tools that were originally furnished with the vehicles. I visit swap meets, flea markets, tractor and automobile shows and as I travel around the country in search of the Ford tools. My collection numbers about one thousand pieces. I have done extensive research on the Ford tractor tools in the archives of the Henry Ford Museum and now collect and furnish original tool kits to fellow Ford tractor collectors.

I like mechanical challenges and to create one of kind machines. I intend to continue showing my tractors even if tractor number ten is my last big challenge. The camaraderie among the exhibitors and spectators at tractor shows is genuine and I always look forward to attending a good show and fellowship with people of common interest. I hope we can meet at a show in the future