A Brief Word

| September/October 1998

Unidentified marine engine


Terry Buchanan

From the Internet we've gathered some figures on the Oscar Cooke auction out at Billings, Montana. Oscar's Dreamland had a number of engines, but the main emphasis of the collection was in tractors. Some of these brought record figures, and here are a few of the prices: Hart-Parr 30-60, $50,000; IHC Titan 30-60, $120,000; Huber Light 4, $9,000; Huber Super 4, $ 11,000; Huber 40-62, $12,500; Russell 30-60, $52,000; Minneapolis 35-70, $37,500... and the list goes on.

This writer was with Oscar the day we went to Neal Miller's place at Alden, Iowa. After Oscar and Neal did a great deal of jawboning over price, Oscar bought the Russell 30-60 tractor for $800, including a set of extension rims. The sad part for ye olde Reflector is that we could have bought that tractor a year earlier from Neal for $700!

There's no doubt that tractor prices are strong (perhaps that's not strong enough a statement, and please pardon the pun). However, we have some concerns about the direction of engine and tractor prices generally. First of all, given the good economy of the present time, there's always the temptation to overextend and buy an expensive tractor in hopes that the investment will appreciate. We don't pretend to know much about economics except that there's usually not enough money to go around. Having said that, what if the bubble bursts? We suspect there might be some folks taking a real bath in some very expensive tractors. That's fine if one has the money to ride out the storm, but it's not so good for people who might rely on borrowed money to buy tractors. So, we pose the question, is today's engine and tractor situation a buyer's market, or is it a seller's market? Like everything else, it probably depends on whether you are buying or if you are selling!

We're compiling this month's column in late June, since the deadline of July 7 will come while we're on our way through Germany with our tour group. Given the logistics of our return in late

July, we'll be taking a break for the October issue, and return to our desk for the November issue.

The weekend of June 19-21 was the annual reunion of the M-M Collectors as well as the Allis-Chalmers group at Homestead, Iowa. This year they had 100 tractors between the two, and some very nice ones too! Both of these small shows have grown a lot in the last few years and we wish them both continued success.