Box 95,Wheatland, ND 58079
(This is a Blue ribbon 4-H speech given by Kevin Kingsley a few years ago when he was 13 or 14 years old.)
Over the last 10 to 15 years, there has been a growing interest in anything old. This antique craze has covered just about every phase of development in the last 100 years. Some of the more popular are: antique furniture, antique cars, and in this part of the country, antique tractors. The people who collect old tractors are quite a lot. They range in age from 10 or 12 years old up to their eighties. This disease, called tractor collecting, could probably be called terminal. It seems that once you get it, there's no way you are going to get rid of it.
Normal people who will not do anything out of the ordinary, have been known to drive several thousand miles for just one old or unusual tractor, the more unusual, the better. I know this for a fact because my dad has this disease and so does one of my uncles, who has driven as far as Wisconsin and Wyoming to get a tractor. I think that looking for and finding these old tractors is almost as much fun as owning them. Some people will buy several tractors of the same model with the idea of selling or trading some of them. But one of the signs of 'tractoritis' is that once one of these collectors has a tractor in his possession, he will not part with it. I think tractor collecting has caused more than one fight between Ma and Pa. It also has probably figured in a bankruptcy or two. We've talked a little bit about the disease of tractor collecting. Now let's talk about a typical tractor collector. There are several things they have in common. (1) They are usually so full of bull you don't know when truth ends and fiction starts. (2) In most cases they will either have a chew in the side of their mouth or a big fat cigar in their mouth. (3) If you are a true tractor collector, you must wear overalls, the dirtier the better. This also goes for your cap. (4) For a collector, what you drive is very important. There are actually two classes of people here. One is the man with the new pickup or truck with the fancy trailer. The other drives a tired looking old pickup with a small trailer on behind that he has to load with a hand winch. It's a proven fact that the one who drives the old pickup gets more bargains, and is a lot more interesting to talk to. (5) Most tractor collectors are 100% honest; although in some cases, you will get an individual that will try to beat you any way he can. (6) The typical tractor collector will usually only collect one or two kinds of tractors and try to collect as many models of that kind as he can. My uncle collects John Deere and IH. My dad is partial to Hart Parr and Olivers. These are just a few things tractor collectors have in common. Where you find tractors is also interesting.
My dad has been looking for 2 cylinder Hart Parrs for years. He bought an 18-36 from a fellow who was going to restore it, but never got past taking it apart. It was sitting back in the corner of a warehouse with all the motor parts in a box. My dad, having the disease, could not let a bargain go by. It's now sitting in the corner of our shop with the engine in a box. So much for that bargain.
Another 2 cylinder that he has is a 12-24 Hart Parr which his brother-in-law had found. When he went to look at it, the tractor was in a lean-to of a garage with so much junk piled over it that you could hardly tell what kind it was. With a little tractor talk, Dad was able to make a deal for the tractor.
An interesting tractor Dad has is an Oliver 60 Standard, which is quite rare. He found this one sitting in a bunch of weeds with two other tractors. He ended up buying four tractors to get the one he wanted. So, when you go to look at a tractor, you never know how many or what kind you will come home with.
In closing, I hope this talk on tractor collecting and the people who collect them will give you some insight on the subject. So you see when it comes to collecting antiques tractors it is the older the better.