Sell Museum’s Rare Swedish Tractor

By Staff
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The Booker News Submitted by Dan Sell Box 227 Booker, Texas
79005

When Dan Sell held his third annual open house at the Sell
Homestead Museum, Saturday, May 20, he unveiled one of the most
unusual and rare tractors remaining in the world-an Avance.

No more than 500 of the two-cylinder, two-cycle tractors were
built by the Avance Company in Sweden back in a period from 1925-32
and probably less than a dozen remain in existence today. Sell
obtained his from a farmer in North Dakota who had purchased it in
Canada and farmed with it for several years before storing it back
in the corner of a barn.

Sell travels all over the country looking for rare, old farm
machinery and had stopped at this particular farm to look at
something else when the farmer said, ‘there’s one back
there that’s a little different.’

Sell could hardly restrain his enthusiasm when he saw the old
Avance and immediately asked if it was for sale and bought it.

He wasn’t exactly sure what he had until he contacted P. G.
Fagerberg at Skivarp, Sweden, another antique machinery
collector.

Fagerberg informed Sell that he was amazed to hear that a
two-cylinder Avance was found in the United States since it is
considered an unusual tractor even in Sweden.

‘There are only five known survivors of the two-cylinder
Avance here in Sweden, one in Australia and now yours, so it is
quite rare as you understand,’ said Fagerberg. He added that
the two-cylinder model was introduced around 1925 and the last one
built around 1932 with not more than 500 being built.

Changes were made in 1928 because of some troubles with the
crankshafts on the first model, Fagerberg said. The later model had
an extra mainbearing after the flywheel and also mud guards for the
rear wheels.

‘So it seems to me as if your engine belongs to the later
series,’ Fagerberg wrote to Sell. He also sent along a sales
catalog and an instruction manual for the tractor, noting they were
both in Swedish and probably would keep Dan occupied for a
while:

‘I can always translate some parts of it if you wish, but
please don’t ask me to translate all of it,’ he said,
adding some humor with the comment, ‘I hope you can use my
information inspite of my not so good English. On the other hand,
of course, my English is probably better than your Swedish, but
then again, who needs Swedish outside Sweden?’

Fagerberg also gave a short history of the Avance company,
noting that its founder, J. V. Svensson, started to make
two-stroke, hot bulb engines in 1900 in a large new factory just
outside Stockholm after visiting the U. S. and bringing back two
Mitz & Weiss engines he developed with water injection, etc.
‘In that way, one can say Avance, from the start, was an
American engine,’ he said.

Sell said the only thing he had to do to get his Avance in
running condition was patch the fuel tank. Lambert Dahlstem of
Lindsborg, Kansas, is translating the instructions on the parts
manual for Sell.

Besides the Avance, Sell has a large collection of antique
tractors and cars dating from 1913, plus stationary engines, farm
machinery and other old farm household and farmstead items from the
30’s, etc.

‘There are a lot of things to see and it is an educational
experience for the younger generation,’ he said. The museum is
located one and one-half miles north of Booker on SH 23 and then
one-half mile west.

This is the only scheduled time each year that Sell has the
museum open to the public, but he is usually available to take
interested groups or individuals on a tour of his collection if
they will let him know in advance.

His brother, Donald Sell, also has a huge collection of tractors
and other machinery and they both have them on display each fall at
the Golden Spread Antique Machinery Show at Sell’s ranch
southwest of Booker. Show dates: Saturday and Sunday, September 16
and 17, 1989. Held on the Donald Sell Farm, Perryton, Texas.
Located 10 miles east of Perryton on FM 377 and 5 south on FM 2711;
or 5 south of Booker, Texas, on SH 23, 6 west on FM 377 and 5 south
on FM 2711.

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