Beetle Tractor Materials

Reader Contribution by Staff
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A factory photo of a Beetle tractor. Twenty-five were built for the U.S. Forest Service in 1946, with another 90 production tractors built in 1947-1948.

We received a call recently from Robert Janyk, whose work involves dispersing unclaimed estate property. While working on the estate of a gentleman in Oregon, Robert came across an old inter-office envelope containing correspondence about a Beetle tractor, a miniature tracked tractor built in Seattle, Washington, in the late 1940s. Apparently, the deceased once worked for Western Gear Works of Seattle, builder of the Beetle tractor. A quick Internet search by Robert turned up several old GEM articles on the Beetle, prompting him to contact us. Among the items in the envelope were original factory photographs of the Beetle, along with a complete mimeographed copy of a Beetle tractor owner’s manual and parts list, and a Waukesha engine manual. Originally designed for the U.S. Forest Service in 1946, Beetle tractors were small enough to be transported in the back of a full-size pickup. Weighing around 2,000 pounds, they were powered by a 61-cubic-inch, 15 hp 4-cylinder Waukesha ICK engine. Briefly marketed to the public in 1947-1948, it’s estimated only 90 production Beetle tractors were made. Robert kindly sent us the materials he found in hopes we might find a good home for them. If you have a Beetle tractor and would like to have these materials, please contact GEM.

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