Searching For Iron In The ‘Third World

Author Photo
By Staff

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Soviet engine.
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Unidentified orange tractor.
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Caterpillar remains.
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1764 South River Road Autryville, North Carolina 28318

Once again, I was fortunate to travel back to the land of
undiscovered iron for just over two months. This time my travels
took me to the newly democratic country of Mozambique. On this
particular trip, I was allowed the blessing of having quite open
access to the city and rural areas of the country plus the benefit
of having a country contact who is very sympathetic to my
’cause’ to rescue and restore old iron.

My first spot was that of a John Deere(!) tractor in downtown
Maputo, the capitol city. It was located on Avenida De Fuerces
Popular Liberacion De Mozambique. Although I was able to receive
permission from the owner to take pictures of the tractor itself,
he would not allow any pictures of himself to be taken. After
twenty years of communist tyranny, I would be nervous about my
picture being taken also. Nevertheless, I am not a John Deere
collector and I would not want to embarrass myself on its model
name. Can anyone identify and tell me where the serial numbers are
and how much it weighs? I will retrieve the serials on a future
trip. The owner did escort me around his building. There was a pile
of old implements there also. Since the average farmer in
Mozambique still uses animal power they are still widely available.
Are any of these collectable? He did indicate that they are for
sale, although he was adamant about the tractor not going

My second find was on the main highway linking Maputo with
Matola (a suburb) and several miles down the road, of South Africa
and Swaziland. I am not sure of the type or manufacturer of this
unit. I believe it to be a pump or pump/engine combination. The
placard riveted to it basically says that it was used for bringing
water to the interior of the land. The local people obviously do
not see many foreigners taking pictures of this pump, since quite a
gathering occurred as I laid on the ground trying to get a good
angle. I was happy to get the picture and the good people of
Mozambique had quite a laugh seeing the American contort himself in
the dirt.

On the road to Boane, I found an old iron graveyard. There were
quite a few different types of machines there to be found. I
recovered a nameplate from a twisted hulk of a Soviet
who-knows-what. ( I would not have removed this item if the machine
had been in any semblance of restorable shape. The nameplate was
literally the only item not scavenged from the remains.) I also
found the remains of a Caterpillar bulldozer. This picture was
taken with much trepidation as an active minefield was located
about 150 yards away although my guide did insist it was safe.
About a half mile away, another unidentified tractor was found
later that day. It was safely located in a farm field. The major
crops in this area are corn, beans, and tapioca. Can anyone
identify the tractor?

The best find was that of a Deutz diesel engine of about 5
horsepower. I often read articles in GEM that people get telephone
calls or just drive down the road and wham there’s iron to be
had. I always thought that it couldn’t happen to me, but I am
now of the belief that it will happen to all of us at least once.
The engine is located in Maputo not far from the Presidential
Palace. (Please all you fellow collectors don’t get this engine
before I do!) The engine used to run a generator for one of the
local businesses there until central power was established several
years ago. I plan to try and find the generator also. I will be
negotiating with the owner later this year for its purchase. After
consulting with my ‘little blue book’ of friends and
contacts, I have a way to get it home that shouldn’t break me.
With luck, maybe we will see a future article on its

As I said, I will be returning. I hope to have even a better
sequel to this story. I received word of sightings of an old
tractor on steel located at the Rezano Garcia Border Zone by the
Republic of South Africa. It sounds like an old Allis or Farmall.
Additionally, there is also an old steam engine graveyard located
at Chimoio that may have gas engines, also. It supposedly has no
fewer than forty steam locomotives there. I plan to visit both.

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