The Rest of the Story

Restored Kaywood Three-Wheeler, Locdlly Made Tractors Stars of Michigan Show

Three-wheeled Kaywood

Doug Swift

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photos by Doug Swift

Carl Van Wylen's three-wheeled Kaywood, possibly the only one made, made its debut after restoration at the Hartford Old Engine and Tractor Show.

At the 6th Annual Hartford Old Engine and Tractor Show in Hartford, Mich., on Labor Day weekend 2002, we had the largest display of locally made tractors of any show I've seen.

What a sight to see - Friday, Love, Tructor, Parrett and Kaywood, all sitting in a nice row. There were two Kaywoods on hand, one of them a three-wheeler owned by Carl Van Wylen of Sand Lake, Mich., and possibly the only one ever built (see Gas Engine Magazine, August 2002). The other was a four-wheel Kaywood owned by Wayne Bolton of Niles, Mich. There were also two Parrett tractors on display, a four-cylinder and a six-cylinder.

One rewarding part of researching these locally made tractors is sharing information with people who never knew their family was in the tractor business. The late Ferdinand 'Ferd' Thar was half owner of Kaywood, and also ran large farms in Michigan and Florida. I've located two of his daughters, three of his grandsons and one granddaughter, some of whom knew nothing about Ferd's activities making Kaywoods until I told them.

Also on display was the 1936 Love Tructor owned by Frank Prillwitz, Eau Claire, Mich. Ron Goller, from Defiance, Ohio, brought an 'improved' Love tractor built by David Friday of Hartford, Mich. Ron's tractor has a 6-inch by 10-inch cast aluminum tag on the left side of the hood proudly proclaiming its 'improved' status.

Don and Dave Baiers brought a very unique Love tractor built sometime around 1944. It has a four-cylinder Ford Model A motor, a Ford transmission and a Ford rear end. It was built on a unique frame made out of 24-inch I-beam, laid flat with holes cut out for where the motor, transmission and rear end are placed. The story goes that during World War II, when metal was scarce, J.R. Love heard about a large bridge being torn down in Chicago, Ill. He sent a man to check it out and ended up buying the bridge I-beams to use as frames. The Baiers' Love tractor is one of these so built.

The circa 1944 Love tractor belonging to Don and Dave Baiers. Note the frame, said to have been made from a section of 24-inch I-beam salvaged from a bridge.

Don and Dave also brought a 1950 Friday tractor (equipped with a six-cylinder Chrysler industrial motor) that once belonged to the late Michigan state Senator Charles Zollar and was used on his farm. Don and Dave also brought along their rare Minneapolis-Moline Jet Star.

Fred Rinehart of Hartford, Mich., brought his John Deere LI industrial, custom-painted red at the factory for the city of Chicago, which bought 50 of the tractors. Also on hand were the 1917 and 1918 Waterloo Boy tractors restored by the Paul Bolinger family of Chelsea, Mich.

The show featured the usual number of garden tractors, as well. Carl Hewitt brought his John Deere Model M, formerly owned by the state of Michigan, painted yellow and equipped with a sickle mower. Mart Deegar brought his John Deere 340, also in mint condition, and I brought my patio tractors - restored and painted four colors; red and white, blue and white, orange and white, and yellow and white. Always a crowd pleaser.

Charles Avery brought one of his Avery tractors. Norm and Ken Funk brought their BO John Deere along with a unit built to look like a Rumely and powered by a large hit-and-miss engine. They also had two smaller units similar to the 'Rumely' and built on Sears garden tractor frames.

Larry Manley brought his load of antique washing machines, all running, and Chuck Pickney brought an unusual display made from a propane cylinder. Chuck pours water in it, which comes out the bottom and then goes up through a check valve from where it is pumped through a copper pipe six feet high and then back into the tank - all by gravity. The people of Cedar Springs must be proud of Chuck, because he goes to a lot of shows each year.

Don Peck brought his portable sawmill and shingle mill and cut logs all three days of the show, Chuck Bergstrom helping him with that and with the threshing, also.

There were some good, rare buys at the flea market, including three Bantam garden tractors and a Swisher mower. Two of us saw them pull in - I was second and got the Swisher, which is very unique. Another man bought all three Bantams in less than five minutes.

Special thanks to Doug Swift of Doug Swift Photography, who took the pictures I've included. Doug said he had never been to a tractor show, and that he had only intended to come out for an hour to take pictures. He arrived at 8 a.m. and left at 5 p.m.! 'I'm going to see more tractor shows from now on,' Doug said. Amen to that.

Contact engine enthusiast Robert Hall Jr. at: 444 S. Olds Ave., Hartford, Ml 49057-1355.