The Dallas County News, Adel, Iowa, reprinted by permission
Andy Coulter is an addict, but the habit he can't break is not dangerous to his health. He is simply hooked on buying antique tractors.
At age 17, Coulter is not your average 'old sage' antique enthusiast. The Panora-Linden High School senior says he rarely meets people his age that are as fanatical as he is about collecting old tractors, but that does not bother him the least bit.
When asked how many old tractors he has collected, Coulter replies 'not as many as I would like to have.'
In actuality, Coulter, son of James and Glesna Coulter of rural Linden, has seven tractors. He has all kinds, ranging from a 1935 International Harvester F-12 with lug wheels to a 1948 John Deere A. The F-12 was the first tractor he bought in 1980 to drive in the Linden Centennial parade.
Buying that first tractor 'was a big mistake,' according to Coulter's mother. 'You'd think he was a millionaire, the way he goes off and buys all these old tractors,' she joked.
His parents have put a restriction on his buying more tractors, but 'they said that when I got the first one,' he said with a smile.
Getting parts for old tractors is no problem, according to Coulter, who sometimes has to do mechanical work on the tractors to make them run. Some parts can be bought new, while others can be obtained at swap meets such as the one held every Memorial Day weekend at Hawkeye Antique Acres in rural Waukee.
Coulter also paints the old machines and applies decals to make his collection as authentic looking as possible. He buys some of the decalsat swap meets and orders others from a Minnesota firm that produces them.
The word has spread that Coulter collects antique tractors and name recognition has helped him obtain hard-to-find parts. Collectors some of them complete strangers contact him to see if he has certain parts to sell or is interested in buying other parts.
In addition to the swap meets, Coulter looks for parades to 'show off' his collection. He has driven tractors in parades in various area town parades. He said 'the highlight' of his year is the July parade at the Hawkeye Antique Acres because in addition to showing his tractors, he gets to talk to other collectors.
The 17-year old is already looking forward to retirement because by then, he'll have enough time then to work on tractor collecting full time, he said. 'I'll do this instead of going fishing. Maybe by then I'll have a heated shop.'