STORY OF AN Unfinished Caterpillar Model 11


| August/September 1997



Old Cat grader

25277 Rancho Apple Valley, California 92308-9707

This Caterpillar Model 11, Auto Patrol was built in September 1935. The frame serial number is 9F652, and engine serial number is 1F245. It has a four cylinder gas engine, dual rear wheels, a 10 foot moldboard, and scarifiers. This one does not have any electrical equipment, but a starter, generator, lights, and battery were available optionally. Other options were a snow-plow, bulldozer, cab, air compressor, a foot operated Klaxon horn, and even a front wheel hub mounted odometer.

Since I knew that GEM was originally written with mainly farm equipment in mind, and Cat equipment was usually only mentioned when it was used on a farm, I never considered writing anything about a Cat grader. Now that GEM is gradually including all old equipment, I decided to try writing about my old grader. Then, also, C. H. Wendel gave me a boost by mentioning his old Cat grader (I'll guess his is an 8T) in the August 1996 issue of the magazine.

I might mention here that, after working with operators who have come from many other states in the Union, I have found that in different parts of the country there are different names used to denote a grader. Some still say 'auto patrol,' some 'motor patrol,' some 'motor grader', some 'road grader,' and we in California just say 'blade.' I will stick to the name 'grader' in this article.

Mr. Wendel's theory that operators of old Cat equipment seem to like the sound of the engine is partly right, but a 'non-sound' is more true. A screaming two-cycle engine may sound great for a few hours (to a young operator), but try using that engine for eight or ten hours a day for 40 or 50 years and see if you can hear anything else for the rest of your life. Cat and Cummins engines are still the preferred ones.

The main reason owners and operators liked Cat equipment was because it was built heavy enough and engineered well enough to outlast its competitors. Therefore, an operator wasn't out of work waiting for his machine to be repaired, and an owner wasn't losing money while the machine was down. The Cat was built simply enough that even a 'shade tree' mechanic, like me, could repair it.