Our world is full of amazing people, some whose talents we only realize once they’re gone. That was the case with Richard “Dick” Novacek of Greenbush, Minn. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 85, after a battle with ALS, days before he was to be the grand marshal of his hometown’s Fourth of July parade.
Novacek built two tractors, named “Big N,” complete with manuals. He built the first one (238 hp) in 1967, followed by a second one with a cab in 1980.
“Everything on these tractors were hand built,” says his son Neil Novacek. “Motor mounts, linkages, brake peddles, clutch peddle, fuel tank, drawbar. My dad didn’t have any specialty tools back then, just a stick welder and a torch, and he tapped every hole he drilled.”
“The smaller Big N, without a cab, has the 671 Detroit. My dad built the second tractor with a cab because in the 1970s our hired hand always stood while he drove the little Big N. He then had the option to either stand or sit in air conditioning,” Neil says. “These tractors broke open a lot of land.”
Novacek’s hands built many other projects, such as his first lawn mower in 1959. Five weeks before his passing he sketched a snow plane. The father and son had plans to convert a John Deere 8820 into a grain cart.
Thank you, Neil, for sharing these pictures and stories of your father.
To read more of this story and others, visit Machinery Pete’s blog at bit.ly/Dick-Novacek