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Olivers For Life

| July/August 1998

  • Oliver 88 Tractor

  • Oliver 88 Tractor

9800 Linen broker Road Rosebud, Missouri 63091

During my years of collecting and restoring 'Old Iron,' I have had the opportunity to meet, and work with, a unique individual, Emil Leimkuehler. Emil is a third generation farmer in the Gasconade River valley of central Missouri.

Emil's father farmed with first the Hart-Parr, then later with Oliver tractors and equipment. Emil has maintained that tradition throughout his farming career. As newer, more modern equipment was produced, Emil took advantage of this, but kept the old, and began restoring these back to new condition. He now has many of these, along with other rare models in his private museum, located on the farm.

Included in his collection is a 1917 Titan which he had removed from a water filled tiff mine in Missouri. The tractor was left on a ledge in the mine, covered with water for over 40 years. This tractor is now also in like-new condition. Since he is now retired, the larger tractors and equipment have become more cumbersome for him to handle, restore and show, so he has resorted to building his own scale models of the Oliver line. Bear in mind, Emil was a farmer, not a machinist. He has only the basic hand tools to work with.

He started with building a tractor with a 10 HP Koehler engine and a Cub Cadet transaxle, using the dash and sheetmetal from an Oliver 88 and cutting it down to half-scale. This was so successful, he then built a half-scale plow, manure spreader, and corn planter. These are exact to the original, fully functional including the gears which he formed with hacksaw and file. The planter even plants corn in 20-inch rows.

These were still too large, so now he has just completed a small version of the Oliver 88 tractor, which has a 3 HP motor and is fully functional, as well as the disc, which he also formed with hacksaw and hand tools. He seems to be satisfied now, since the last tractor and disc are small enough to get into his living room. When he gets Oliver on his mind, he can just look down and admire his own workmanship. He says he isn't going to make any more, but just check out the shows in Missouri, eastern Illinois, and southern Iowa in the future and you will see these works of art, and perhaps another piece of Oliver equipment.


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