Meet the Winner of the 26th Chevron Tractor Restoration Competition
Antique Tractors Have Been a Big Part of Andrew Hanna’s Life
Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, Andrew Hanna did not come from a farming background. His father did, however, and the family had two antique John Deere tractors on their land that Andrew’s great uncle had restored. “A couple of times a year we would get those tractors out,” he recalls. “I always loved driving them. Those were my favorite times.”
Early on, Andrew developed a knack for mechanical work and small engines, and actually started a business repairing lawnmowers and other equipment before he acquired his first tractor, a John Deere B, at the age of 14. Over time, his collection of tractors expanded to 14 – about half of them in working order and the others “in various states of restoration,” he says. “With antique tractors, it's an endless project.”
Andrew hadn’t heard of the Chevron Tractor Restoration Competition until he read an article about the 2022 winner in Oliver Heritage, a tractor enthusiast magazine. “I thought, ‘That seems pretty cool.’ I restored tractors, so why not enter?”
However, Andrew didn’t want to simply enter a project he already had in progress. “I knew I wanted to start with a blank slate for the competition,” he says. “I wanted to be sure the whole project was documented really well.” In February 2023, he found a 1942 International Harvester Farmall M that had been sitting in a broken-down shed in Southern New Jersey for an estimated 25 years, and went to work.
Apart from the rigors of restoring a tractor, the Chevron competition calls for comprehensive documentation of the project. “The whole time you're working on it, from the day you go look at it until the day you put the decals on and call it done, you should be taking pictures of it,” Andrew explains. “Every day I kept a log of how many hours I spent and what I did that day.” While tearing down the tractor, tracking down missing parts and rebuilding it all came naturally to him, preparing the report was harder than he expected. “I definitely underestimated how long it would take to do the report,” he says. “It was a lot of work. It was around 80 pages. Then after I did the report, I had to put together the video that the judges look at.”
Andrew was a senior in high school when he started the restoration. He had to put it aside for a while to prepare for his college advanced placement exams, and over the summer held a full-time job as a heavy equipment mechanic. Nonetheless, by mid-August he was ready to submit his report, and three weeks later he learned he was one of 12 finalists.
“On November 2nd and 3rd, I went out to Indianapolis and presented in front of the four judges, which was pretty nerve wracking,” Andrew recounts. “They asked me a lot of questions.” In fact, the questioning went on for over an hour after Andrew finished his presentation. In the end, Andrew’s presentation, report and video, as well as the impeccable working condition of his Farmall M, all carried the day.
What set Andrew apart in the judges’ eyes? “I think they were surprised by my knowledge, how much I was able to figure out myself and all the mechanical stuff I did on my own.”
Andrew is now a freshman at Penn State, where he plans to major in Mechanical Engineering, with an eye on becoming a test engineer after he graduates. He has a few words of wisdom for anyone considering entering the competition: “It's a huge learning experience. I've worked on other tractors before, but I still learned a ton with this project. Probably the main thing that someone could get out of a project like this is just learning more. And the satisfaction that you get after getting a tractor running - it always feels good to know that you did that yourself, you figured it out on your own, and it works.”