Beetle Tractors, Take 2
Marv Hedberg’s Beetle dozer and his prototype Beetle grader
After reading our report on the Beetle tractor GEM regular Marv Hedberg immediately reached for the phone to let us know of his interest in the materials. Marv, a prolific collector, restorer and scale engine builder, is no stranger in the old engine hobby, having been featured in Gas Engine Magazine and Farm Collector several times over the years, and he’s partner with Roland Morrison at Morrison & Marvin Engine Works, which designs and sells quarter-scale casting sets. As it turns out, Marv has not one, but two Beetle tractors; a circa-1946-47 dozer and a prototype grader made in 1952 by U.S. Forest Service employee Ted Flynn, who headed up the Forest Service’s shop. The prototype grader was based on a standard Beetle, but turned around so the engine was at the rear and the grader up front. An intriguing machine, it never went into production. The original Beetle tractor from Western Gear Works, Seattle, Washington, was manufactured for only a few years (1946-1948). Following that, Laurentide Equipment Co. in Montreal, Canada, secured rights to the design and marketed it for a few years as the Laurentide Beetle tractor, with actual manufacture carried about by Canadian Vickers Ltd. Laurentide apparently quit making the tractor in the very early 1950s. A revised version was then built in Massachusetts. Marketed as the Mity Kat, it featured a Hercules 4-cylinder engine in place of the originally used Waukesha.
Our thanks to Marv for the added information on this interesting little tractor: We can’t think of a better person to maintain the materials so kindly provided by Robert.
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