...More Panzer and Panzer Club History


| April/May 2000

  • COPAR PANZER


  • COPAR PANZER

Michael and Susan Heller are the founders of the Panzer Tractor Owners Club. Back in 1995, Michael decided to purchase a riding mower to care for the one acre lot on their new home in Manassas, Virginia. For $250 he obtained a 1961 Panzer model T-70, and soon realized that it would be helpful to have other Panzer owners to guide him with parts, advice, etc. Michael knew that a show in Berryville, Virginia (Shenandoah Valley Steam & Gas Engine Association) was said to have numerous Panzers on display.

At their first visit to the Berryville show in July of 1996, the Hellers met Van and Grace Vandenburgh, and Gene and Anna Knicely, and several other Panzer collectors. At a strategy meeting at the Knicelys', the idea of a Panzer Tractor Owners Club was born, together with a newsletter to be named Panzer Power.

Enthusiasts can now join the Panzer Tractor Owners by sending new member dues of $17.00 (U.S.) or $22.00 (Canada [U.S. Funds]) to the club at P.O. Box 2601, Manassas, VA 20108. Membership includes a newsletter three times a year and a model identification chart. Since its inception, membership has grown and is close to 175 members in 27 states and Canada.

In addition to the annual Panzer Party, the Club is now planning a spring get together at the Cumberland Valley Gas Engine Show in Chambersburg, Pa., the weekend of April 29-30, 2000. This will be the first show at which Panzer is the featured tractor.



Panzer tractors were the brainchild of James A. Clark, chief engineer of the Ahrendt Instrument Company in College Park, Maryland, a company specializing in the research, design, development and manufacture of precision electronic instruments.

Clark experienced exasperation in preparing the lawn around his home for seeding, while using a rented walk-behind tractor. After a bit of research, he realized that riding garden tractors then on the market were not up to his standard. His boss, Bill Ahrendt, a young and successful entrepreneur, gave him the okay to come up with a design of a simple riding tractor, one that could be easily operated and maintained.



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