May 28, 2008
BYRON, Ga. (WTVM) - Gary Brown has been in the tractor business for more than 20 years, but as gas prices went up, his sales went down.
So, he and a few friends came up with another way to use some of the old tractor parts.
"We're just taking economical farm engines, farm tractor engines and putting them in pick-ups," Brown says.
That's right, Brown says engines initially built for a hard day's work in the fields are perfect for trucks like a Ford F-150 meant for the road.
"Something that's been for years and years and years, they perfected these things to burn less and less fuel and get more and more power and we decided to put them in vehicles and see what they'd do," says Brown.
What they did was work, and according to Brown, run more efficiently.
"The average full size pick-up in America gets like 13.4 miles a gallon, these are getting 42, 45 in that range," says Brown.
Seems impossible, right! With diesel way over $4.00 a gallon, some might say it simply doesn't make sense, but according to Brown, if you're getting more per gallon...
"Diesel's 15% higher, but if you get three times the mileage, I mean the math's there," he says.
We go for a ride in one of the trucks. It's a little noisy, but we're cruising over 80. Brown says people often ask about the trucks, but he's not selling them.
Rather the idea that anyone can do it on their own.
"Millions of people across this country that are car enthusiasts or farmers, they work on equipment, mechanics, can do this with no problem. It's not that hard to do, you just have to have the determination to do something."
The name of the business, Shade Tree Conversions, comes from an old, simple country concept. People worked on their cars, under a shade tree! Gary Brown says his idea of taking tractor engines and putting them in trucks is just as simple, ordinary people taking extraordinary steps to make a difference in their own lives.