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How a Spencer shop set, keeps breaking a tractor build world record

How a Spencer shop set, keeps breaking a tractor build world record

The team at Robert’s Carburetor and The Motor Works can’t stop breaking its own world record for fastest tractor build.

At last week’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, the crew from the tractor repair shop in Spencer once again broke its own world record for the fastest John Deere Model M tractor build.

The time: 19 minutes, 31 seconds. That’s with all the parts stripped down and now power tools to help.


“There’s no power tools, no jacks or electric drills,” said Lori Zebedee, business manager at Robert’s Carburetor and The Motor Works. “Everything is hand tools and manpower. It’s not like you’ve got electric stuff helping you go faster.”

That was an improvement 23:12 and 20:33 posted earlier in the week at the show.

Those were world records, too, by the way. Safe to say these people know the tractor like the back of their hands by now.


Maybe they already did.

“That’s what we do at Robert’s Carburetor is antique John Deere restoration work,” Zebedee said. “And The Motor Works is a complete tractor shop, so we work on anything old to new, basically just John Deere.”

In fact, the Robert’s Carburetor crew has owned the world record since July 2018. The time then was 30 minutes, 51 seconds.


They later broke their record Aug. 15 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The time improved to 27 minutes, 35 seconds.

Watch a time lapse video of the Iowa State Fair build

(See more videos and photos at the Robert’s Carburetor and The Motor Works Facebook page.)

Zebedee, who has participated in some of the tractor builds, said the idea to set a tractor build world record came from Bob Quinn of The Big Show on WHO Radio in Des Moines. Robert’s Carburetor is a sponsor of the WHO Tractor Ride.


“We were the one’s who came to mind when he decided that WHO should do something,” she said.

The tractor build in July was broadcasted remotely to the WHO studios. The build at the fair gathered quite the crowd who wanted to see the build for themselves, not just on video.

The team’s developed a strategy to keep breaking its record.


“We have a strategy in the way the parts are laid out,” Zebedee said. “We keep the tools together with the parts that are going to need them. There’s definitely strategy there.”

The teammates don’t say much, either.

“Pretty much everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and they’re just doing it,” Zebedee said. “There’s a little bit of talking back and forth. Somebody might need a tool.”


Perhaps business owner-operator Gary Hoefling holds the secret to how team stays on pace: motivational music.

“Gary likes to focus,” Zebedee said. “He needs a little bit of AC/DC going in the background.”

Photo: The Robert’s Carburetor and The Motor Works tractor build team at the Farm Progress Show in Boone last week. (Photo provided.)



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