BOLENS

By Staff
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89 Arrowhead Drive Griswold, Connecticut 06351. 

In the fall of this past year I had let some of the local old
iron collectors know that I was looking for a small riding garden
tractor to restore. I presently also own a 1936 F12 tricycle on
steel but it’s a little too big to be hauled to shows with my
Ford Mustang. No sooner did I put the word out, than to my
amazement appeared an advertisement in a New England antiques
newspaper of an auction with several small tractors, including a
picture of a Bolens. The auction was to be held in Granby,
Massachusetts in mid October. The day of the auction finally came
and my girl friend, Debbie, and I hooked up the trailer and headed
for Massachusetts. I knew I wouldn’t be coming home empty.

Upon arrival, I spotted several-other old iron collectors, and
that sinking feeling started to creep in. A lot of interest was
being expressed in the little Bolens but I felt overly optimistic,
especially after a thorough going over of the tractor. It was
exactly what I had been looking for. Finally the auction began, and
as we all have experienced, the thing we are most interested in is
ignored by the auctioneer. Debbie finally got one of the
auctioneer’s helpers to push the Bolens up to the auction area.
After some competitive bidding, I was ready to bring the little
tractor home. The trip home was long, as I had to stop off and show
my little piece of ‘junk’ to several friends. No one seemed
too excited!

Home, a new spark plug, a little gas, two pulls on the starter
cord and it was running. Oh, it had some problems. Someone had
jury-rigged an exhaust pipe through the hood, it also had four flat
tires, the cast aluminum grill was cracked in three places, but
overall, it wasn’t too bad. The Bolens sat in my unheated
garage until this past June. During the winter I wrote to the
Bolens Corporation of Port Washington, Wisconsin and they sent some
nice photocopies of the Super Ride-A-Matic 21HD-01 built in 1957.
It has a6.6HPKohler engine and weighs 450 pounds. Ken Robison of
Los Gatos, California, (see 1988 ‘Steam & Gas Show
Directory’ cover) sent me a nice color sales pamphlet showing
that the 21 HD was indeed John Deere green and yellow. Sure
resolved several arguments, though some still dispute the proper
color. I finally took it completely apart, stripped, sanded, primed
and re-painted every piece that was removable. It was a lot of work
and much more time consuming than I had anticipated. By late July,
the reassembly process began with renewed enthusiasm. It sure was
the real fun part and went all too fast. Surprisingly the job was
finished with no extra parts. Many a night I dreaded the
possibility of an extra unexplained piece. I hope many of my New
England friends will enjoy my little tractor at our future
shows.

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