My good friend Roger, who spent 35 years as a Ford Tractor mechanic at a dealer until they closed, at age 84 still works out of his garage/shop on tractors for customers and gets business by word of mouth. He recently took a tractor from an elderly lady and when he got into it, discovered an unusual serial number so he called me up to come over to look at it. The tractor looks to be a hybrid 9N/8N but upon closer examination, it appears to be an experimental model. It is hard to see in the pictures, but the serial number is *9EX17*. The serial number boss itself appears to have been milled smooth and the EX number restamped. I believe the boss was milled to erase the original serial number and the new EX number stamped to designate it as an experimental model and sent to a test farm somewhere. The surface finish is too smooth so I couldn’t get good focus without glare but you can make out some of the digits regardless. During the transition period after the war (WWII) in 1945 Ford had already secretly begun work on the next model in the N-Series range. It was dubbed the 7N because it was slated to be released in 1947 and have many new changes. These models had both 2N parts and new, what would become, 8N parts. Looking real close at this tractor, it sports both 8N and 2N parts and the work appears to be factory, not a farmerized shade tree job. The bell housing mating is too clean to be a hack job. This model has a 3-speed 9N transmission, steering box, front axle center, I-beam radius rods, 8N pedals, 8N running board on right but a NAA running board on right –probably added by someone later, 8N wheels, and 8N rear end. This tractor is not one that had a blown engine and got replaced, in our opinions. Look close at the one picture of the right side radius rod and drag link. You can see between the two on the case the original 9N hole for the brake shaft. I talked to few fellas yesterday about this tractor and one told me that the 7N models were supposed to have all been destroyed. One reliable source told me that “EX” numbered models pop up now and then. When Ford Engineering wanted to test a new part, they’d pull a tractor off the line, restamp the serial number with an ‘EX’ prefix and a new number, make the changes, then send it to one of the many test farms Ford owned around the country to evaluate the new part or change before implementing it into production. This tractor most likely is one of those ‘experimental’ models which somehow slipped thru the cracks and got into the mainstream public. I’d be interested to see if there are any more ‘EX’ models out there and if so, more information on them. The lady told Roger that if it was going to cost too much to fix, she’d think about selling it. Roger found a bad distributor –rotor clip was bent around and he put in new points and condensor, and the carb needed cleaning and rebuild, but after that it fired right up. The sheet metal is bad but I think this would be a great addition to any Ford collector’s collection regardless. Roger is going to tell the lady that if she wants to sell it, he’d buy it. Roger isn’t a collector but if this turns out to be a rare find, he will certainly sell it to anyone interested if he does buy it. Enjoy.