My Caterpillar Story

| March/April 1992

427 Belle Street, Waterloo, Iowa 50702

Since I was about 10 years old, I've wanted to restore a tractor of the crawler type. This would be something out of the ordinary to see in Iowa, where most all of the farm tractors used are wheel type and thus are most frequently restored. Four years ago my cousin located a Caterpillar 'Ten' in a corn crib in Huxley, Iowa. This was the tractor that sparked my interest for rusty old Cats.

To my disappointment, after complete disassembly, I drew the conclusion that this was not the tractor I wanted to restore. It was worn out in every way possible. Time to find a different Cat Ten, that hadn't seen quite as many acres. This was when an ad in GEM proved very useful.

A man named Jim Baker (no relation) answered my want ad in GEM with a box of photos of a well preserved Cat Ten that he had started restoring, but had lost interest in. One problem: Jim lived in San Marcos, California, and I live in Waterloo, Iowa...only 2,000 miles away! Jim says the tractor was used in a small orchard near San Marcos and that he bought the tractor from the original owner! Definitely worth the large trucking bill to get it to my barn, right? Right!!!

This tractor had been equipped with orchard fenders manufactured by Bishop Mfg., Santa Ana, California. This type offender was very popular among Cats used in orchards, although I don't believe this to be a factory conversion. Maybe someone could tell me about this company as many old Cat ads are pictured with that type offender.

Although the tractor had been sitting outside when found, the nice southern California climate did an excellent job of keeping everything from severely rusting and sticking. The orchard fenders served as a 'garage' for the track frames and I found a considerable amount of shiny grey paint on well protected, grease covered places, such as the inside of the track rollers.