Bulldozer In The Old Barn

Elwyn Shipp
October/November 1991
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RR #4, Box 257, Waverly, Iowa 50677

As I was on lunch break where I am employed, I was reading my recent issue of GEM. After sharing it with a friend, he made the comment that he had seen a small bulldozer, no longer in use, at a farm south of Waverly.

The farm is owned by his uncle, Eugene Droste. I have known Mr. Droste for many years but was unaware he had this bulldozer in his barn. As I talked to the Droste's they informed me the dozer was not theirs as it had been left in the barn when the previous owners of the farm moved out of state in 1963. Also left was a 1929 Chevrolet coupe that sat next to the dozer.

They assured me they had no interest in the dozer and would give me the name and address of the owner, who now lives in Charleston, Illinois. I had known the owner, Mr. Wallace Witwer, when the family lived in Waverly back in the late 1950's. He was an engineer employed at the Shield Bantam Crane Company in Waverly.

I called Mrs. Witwer, asking her if the dozer would be for sale. She said possibly, but would have to talk to her two sons first to see if they had any interest in it and then would call me back.

She called the next day and informed me that, as her sons now live in other states far from Waverly, Iowa, they were not interested in keeping the dozer and it would be fine if it were sold.

I then drove to the farm to look at the dozer so I could make an offer. I found it in the barn almost covered up with firewood and there was evidence that raccoons had been sitting on it. After clearing away some wood I was able to find the manufacturers information plate. It stated it as a model S-T-20 Utili-Trac Serial #SD-5 Mfg. by Atlas Scraper and Engineering Company, Bell, California.

The air-cooled Wisconsin engine was free but had no compression. Other than that it seemed to be in very good condition.

I called Mrs. Witwer the next day and we agreed on the purchase price. The next step was to get it removed from the barn and hauled home. It apparently had been driven in and parked about 12 feet from the door.

After work one hot August day, 1990, two of my co-workers and I arrived at the barn with truck and . trailer to remove the dozer from its long time resting place.

After clearing firewood and lumber away, we jacked up the front and rear and placed machinery moving dollies under the tracks. We were then able to push it sideways to the door opening where we winched it on a flatbed trailer.

Before taking it home I stopped at the local car wash and removed approximately 30 years of accumulation of dirt and grime.

The original orange paint still looks very good.

After removing the cylinder head and freeing up the valves, the engine started right up and I drove it down off the trailer.

After a complete lubrication it was time for the test ride which turned out to be very satisfactory. The lack of any wear on all moving parts indicates it had not been used much.

I would like to hear from anyone who may also own one of these Utili-Trac dozers or has any information to share about them.


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