7425 Colfax Avenue South, Richfield, Minnesota 55423.
I guess we all have our favorite possessions and mine is the Sixty Gas Caterpiller Tractor (physical dimensions of: bore 6.75 x 8.5 - rpm 650 - weight 21.500) and the Two Cylinder John Deerc (all sizes). These old engines have a sound that is good for the 'soul of man.'
My first experience with a Sixty takes me back to 1930. I was about 16 years old and was hired out to a farmer that was paying off his feed loan, as many farmers at that time had feed loaned to them from the state because of the drought during those years. These farmers were paying back the state by furnishing a team to haul a dump wagon for building roads - sponsored by the WPA. I received a dollar a day and put in approximately 10 hours daily driving this team and hauling dirt as it
was loaded in the wagon by an elevating scraper that was pulled by the famous Sixty Caterpiller Tractor. It was hard work - but all this was well worth it for me, as I loved to listen to the great Sixty engine talking. This engine could start a heavy load from idle with the cat skinner pulling in the master clutch and opening the throttle at the same time. Another thing is that the track type crawler was designed to pull heavy combine harvesters over soft ground that wheel tractors could not negotiate. They also were used to doing heavy belt work, pulling 42' grain separators. Their belt pully was in the rear of the Cat.
....So it was only natural that the Cat came into dirt work. They could maneuver like no other machine, turning around in their own length. All their weight was on tracks. The Sixties soon made a name for themselves as the only power for the dirt contractor.
The Sixty Caterpiller was the offspring of proud parents, the Holt Tractor Company and the C. L. Best Tractor Company. These companies merged in 1925 and together they created the Sixty.
My dream of owning my own Sixty has continued throughout my many years of road work with Albert and John Ose, contractors, and over 25 years with the Caterpiller people, Ziegler, Inc.
In the spring of 1974 my dream was realized - a contractor I had known owned a Sixty that had been sitting around for quite some time. He had been thinking of trading it to my employer, the Ziegler Company, in exchange for a set of D-8 tracks,....(D-8 tracks are priced in the thousands). It was out of my bargaining range and I put the idea out of my mind. It was now years later when my foreman, Ronnie, approached me with the question of whether or not I might still be interested in purchasing a Sixty from Skeets Astleford, the contractor-Mr. Astleford being the contractor I had contacted years back for this same tractor. Not to waste any time - I made the contact and the deal that very day. The Sixty was all mine, that is almost all, as it was a little less for wear - the radiator tubes were shot off, there was a hole in the valve cover, the exhaust manifold was busted in three places.....
After many hours, weeks and months of 'loving work and care' and a great deal of assistance from Zieglers', my Sixty was ready to come out of its retirement. It was given an opportunity to display and demonstrate its skills at the Ziegler Company's 16th Anniversary that very year - and might I add - it did itself proud!
As a member of the Carver & Scott County Threshers Association, each year we club members perform for the public with all our proud possessions. Through the years I now have in my collection 20 gas engines along with my Sixty and John Deere.