89 Arrowhead Drive Griswold, Connecticut 06351.
In the fall of this past year I had let some of the local old iron collectors know that I was looking for a small riding garden tractor to restore. I presently also own a 1936 F12 tricycle on steel but it's a little too big to be hauled to shows with my Ford Mustang. No sooner did I put the word out, than to my amazement appeared an advertisement in a New England antiques newspaper of an auction with several small tractors, including a picture of a Bolens. The auction was to be held in Granby, Massachusetts in mid October. The day of the auction finally came and my girl friend, Debbie, and I hooked up the trailer and headed for Massachusetts. I knew I wouldn't be coming home empty.
Upon arrival, I spotted several-other old iron collectors, and that sinking feeling started to creep in. A lot of interest was being expressed in the little Bolens but I felt overly optimistic, especially after a thorough going over of the tractor. It was exactly what I had been looking for. Finally the auction began, and as we all have experienced, the thing we are most interested in is ignored by the auctioneer. Debbie finally got one of the auctioneer's helpers to push the Bolens up to the auction area. After some competitive bidding, I was ready to bring the little tractor home. The trip home was long, as I had to stop off and show my little piece of 'junk' to several friends. No one seemed too excited!
Home, a new spark plug, a little gas, two pulls on the starter cord and it was running. Oh, it had some problems. Someone had jury-rigged an exhaust pipe through the hood, it also had four flat tires, the cast aluminum grill was cracked in three places, but overall, it wasn't too bad. The Bolens sat in my unheated garage until this past June. During the winter I wrote to the Bolens Corporation of Port Washington, Wisconsin and they sent some nice photocopies of the Super Ride-A-Matic 21HD-01 built in 1957. It has a6.6HPKohler engine and weighs 450 pounds. Ken Robison of Los Gatos, California, (see 1988 'Steam & Gas Show Directory' cover) sent me a nice color sales pamphlet showing that the 21 HD was indeed John Deere green and yellow. Sure resolved several arguments, though some still dispute the proper color. I finally took it completely apart, stripped, sanded, primed and re-painted every piece that was removable. It was a lot of work and much more time consuming than I had anticipated. By late July, the reassembly process began with renewed enthusiasm. It sure was the real fun part and went all too fast. Surprisingly the job was finished with no extra parts. Many a night I dreaded the possibility of an extra unexplained piece. I hope many of my New England friends will enjoy my little tractor at our future shows.