The stories on this page were written by Margaret C. Anderson of the Star Herald, Scotts-Bluff, NE 69361 where they first appeared in the July 1987 issue. They were sent to us by Bob Kaczmarek, Rt. 1, Box 92, Kimball, NE 69145.
GERING-The shiny orange Minneapolis Moline UDLX which will be pulling the float for the Gering Class of 1977 during the Oregon Trails Day parade July 18 is really very special. It is one of only approximately 80 remaining of the 150 originally built. The tractor, which is owned by Larry Sandberg Implement south of Gering, was built during one of two production runs in 1938, according to his son Kevin.
'They were sold in 1938, 1939 and 1940,' he said, 'but it took several years to sell them-they were just too expensive. They were listed around $2,300, probably twice the cost of a Farmall or John Deere.'
Unlike most 1938 vintage tractors, the UDLX has not only a cab but many of the conveniences of a modern car. It has an electric starter (plus a crank), a horn, shatter-proof windows that roll up and down, three windshield wipers, a factory radio, a heater, a speedometer, headlights, a stoplight, a chrome bumper, a clock, even a cigar lighter and ash tray. The spotlight on top of the cab can be operated from inside and works on a swivel that even allows it to throw light on the machinery being pulled by the tractor.
And then of course there are the two seats that allow two persons to ride comfortably side by side. The tractor was acquired by the elder Sandberg in Colorado some 15 years ago, according to his son. 'It sat for several years at Albin,' he said. 'I read an article about it, and about five years ago I picked it up.'
Tom Gentry of the Sandberg Implement service department did most of the restoration. 'Certain things he had to hand-build, and he just had to take patterns and make parts,' Sandberg said.
The tractor was fairly complete, Sandberg said, but everything had to be taken apart, dipped in acid and redone. Some of the body work was taken care of outside the shop.
Probably the most difficult part of the restoration, according to Sandberg, was putting in air conditioning and rewiring the electrical system. Also, the size 14-32 tires are no longer available, but Sandberg purchased some size 15-22 tires he saw advertised in the Star-Herald, and these can be made over to fit.