Sep 17, 2014
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Heritage Iron

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Heritage Iron Magazine was founded in 2008 in order to fill a need for those interested in muscle tractors. Heritage Iron features all brands, all makes, and all models of muscle tractors from the 1960’s to mid 1980’s including the equipment used by the tractors. Each issue highlights a featured tractor and presents a detailed account of the tractor, its attributes, its history, and its owner. Other regular features in the magazine are machinery milestones, letters to the editor, equipment and company history, classified ads, auction results, an editor’s page, farm toys, literature and memorabilia.

How Much Is Your Tractor Worth?

Aug 22, 2014

Machinery Pete has become the authority when it comes to auction values on farm equipment.  While his Classic Tractor Price Guide quotes true auction prices from the last four years, there are some that might argue that they would never sell their tractor for that price. 

There are several reasons for owning a classic muscle tractor today. Some are looking for horsepower in a tractor that they can actually work on themselves. For others it may be a tie to the good old days when they began farming.  But for some, it’s not just a tractor - it’s a member of the family.

Rubbing elbows with today’s collector, I’ve seen many men and women look for a particular serial numbered tractor. Why? Because Grandpa bought it new and even though it was sold 35 years ago, they still have the original operator’s manual that has the serial number written in it. 

I have witnessed grown men well up with tears when they laid eyes on their old tractor after a long absence. I have seen grandchildren help their elderly grandfather up onto the seat where he spent so many hours just to see his weary eyes light up and his hand reach out to the familiar throttle lever. 

Countless times I have received wedding pictures or family pictures that include the biggest member of the family - their tractor.  These are people who will let a new truck sit outside in a blizzard so the tractor can be inside. They are people who have a picture of their tractor as a screensaver or have it embroidered on their jacket.    They will sit at a show in a lawn chair with a photo album to show "the day the tractor came home to the farm."  Their wallet holds pictures of their children or grandchildren and the tractor. TractorPictureWedding

It is people like that who make the hobby of tractor collecting such an honor to be part of.  


Big Tractors 50 Years Ago

Apr 10, 2014

 Agricultural mechanization reached a major milestone in 1964. For the first time in history, every major tractor manufacturer offered at least one model with over 90 horsepower.  Acceptance of these muscle tractors was slow at first. In the first eight months of 1962, only 269 of the 90+ horsepower tractors were sold nationally.  That same period in 1963 saw a sale of over 2,300 units. According to the Spring 1964 issue of The Farm Quarterly, 1964 would be the biggest year yet.

Who would have dreamed that 50 years later, the 90 hp BIG tractor on the farm would be replaced by a 500 hp tractor. While that isn’t the average size of today’s farm tractor, it certainly is the BIG horse in the stable when extra pull is needed.  

In 1964, Deere’s big horse was the 5010. Capable of plowing nearly 50 acres per day on 16-cent diesel fuel, the 5010 would work for just under a dollar an hour. The Oliver 1900, which developed 86-drawbar horsepower sold for $8,200, and its fuel burn totaled 70 cents per hour. Two Oliver 770s could do the same amount of work as the 1900, however, the two tractors plus an extra operator cost about 20% more annually. The big tractors may have cost a little more but paid for themselves in efficiency.  

Case 930Allis-Chalmers offered the D-21, Moline offered the G706, International Harvester had the 806 and Case offered the 930. Massey’s MM-built MF97 was the biggest tractor in their lineup at the time. Implement designs had to catch up quick to the high-horsepower models of the 1960s. Early combinations of tractor/equipment were not that precise either in weight or maneuverability. Tractors were bulky and designed for large fields, not the small corner patches. Full four-wheel drive tractors were also appearing on the scene but were strictly a field tractor and useless for farm chores. 

Front wheel assist kits were also coming on the scene about this time. Elenco Products offered kits for the Ford models. Elwood Manufacturing had kits for fifteen different models of tractors built by five different manufacturers. Levy Industries out of Canada was building hydraulic front wheel assist axles. 

Today’s muscle tractors are all about efficiency. They are high-tech machines that are worked on by technicians, not mechanics. They consist of a complex hydraulic system with multiple ports and levers and the machines aren’t designed for longevity. 

Fifty years later, the muscle tractors of 1964 are still in the field or in the hands of collectors. Looking forward, do you see today’s tractors still working 50 years from now?  Will the technology to work on these systems still be around at that time?  The true muscle tractors started in the 1960s and will be around and field-worthy for another 50 years. It’s just a shame that the 16-cent diesel fuel didn’t stick around too.

It's Farm Show Week

Feb 05, 2014

 It’s February and my favorite holiday is rapidly approaching. No, it’s not Ground Hog’s Day or President’s Day or even Valentine’s Day. It’s Farm Machinery Show Week and in my family, that is a bigger holiday than Christmas! 

Every year since I was 14, I make the yearly trek to Louisville, KY. While the attraction was admittedly tractors, it wasn’t just the new ones being introduced by the multitude of manufacturers in attendance. I lived and breathed for the tractor pull.  To watch a machine that was designed to plow, hook onto a heavy object just to demonstrate its horsepower, was something I lived for. Factor in that by February cabin fever had set in, we couldn’t wait to get to Louisville.

Sled girl web

I had the rare opportunity to experience Louisville in a different way than most. For nearly 20 years, my family provided one of the weight transfer machines, or sleds, that were dragged back and forth on the track every night. 

My father bought his first sled in the late ‘60s. By 1970, he was building his own and we built one every year for 7 years. I grew up around it and to say it’s in my blood is an understatement. Little did I know what an impact that sport would have on my life. The words of the announcers that I listened to over those many years, stuck in my head. I didn’t even know I was listening but somehow I absorbed it. 

We grew up Oliver. Grandpa was an Oliver dealer and Dad’s name is Oliver. The only time I was even exposed to another brand was on the track. So the model numbers that I can rattle off the top of my head are all compliments of tractor pulling. 

A lot of things have changed in since the days when we had our first sled. Tractors that once hooked to a plow in the morning and a sled in the evening, are not the same machines you see at Louisville on the track. The pulling tractors are mostly component-built machines that barely resemble a tractor. But if you’re a red man and there’s a red tractor hooked to the sled, your brand loyalty kicks in and you cheer.

Sleds have changed too. The days of the step-on sled are long gone.  Pull-back tractors are obsolete on the track and sled operators who sit out in the heat and dust are a rarity on the newer sleds. Before our sleds were self-propelled, we would spend all day jumping on and off the sled to hook up to the pull-back tractor.  We would eat the dust for hours and sit in the sun all day. If we complained we got the lecture from Dad, "you’re supposed to eat 7 lbs of dirt a year!" Where he came up with that number I’ll never know. 

To experience riding a sled was like the experience you got sitting on an open station tractor all day in the sun plowing a 40-acre field with a moldboard plow. You could feel the power, smell the power and most times taste the power. It was the true experience of being a farmer.

It’s an experience that every young boy or girl should have in their lifetime.

The experience of Louisville contains a little of everything. You can see the new innovations, find products to keep the old ones alive and at the end of the day, experience the power as the building erupts with raw horsepower and cheers. 

If you’re out wandering the show, stop by and visit Heritage Iron in the West Hall and celebrate what should be a national holiday - Farm Show Week! And also, check out Heritage Iron on Facebook.


Meet Mr. John Deere 6030

May 17, 2013

Brad Walk purchased the first production John Deere 6030 ever built with the help of a friend. Since then, he's turned his love of 6030s into a business that employs four full-time workers. The face behind, Walk maintains an impressive 6030 collection while managing the company that includes buying and selling tractors, restoring machines, and providing parts and service.

He also farms on an operation that includes hogs and cattle.

Watch this video interview with Heritage Iron Magazine to learn more about this entrepreneur: 

Learn more at the Heritage Iron website

Seats Remain on Tractor Museum Bus Tour

May 16, 2013

There are seats left for this special bus tour!  

Heritage Iron will be hosting a bus tour starting June 3 that will stop at four tractor museums!

The $275 price is all-inclusive with all bus fees, eight meals, two nights lodging and all museum entry fees. Learn more by clicking here. 

There are two departure spots: Greenville, IL and Penfield IL.

And the schedule includes:

Dumont Oliver Museum:  This museum represents the lifetime collection of Lyle & Helen  Dumont of Sigourney, Iowa. Included in this tour are over 100 Beautifully restored tractors, horse-drawn equipment, buggies & gas engines, a Roy Rogers Collection and for ladies, toys, dolls and dishes.

The Kinze Innovation Center (PLUS, a special guided tour by Jon Kinzenbaw of his personal collection):  a 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility built to showcase the history of Kinze Manufacturing. From the early years of Jon Kinzenbaw’s life to the modern innovations used today, this museum setting tells the story of the founding, hard work, leadership and vision that IS Kinze. See Big Blue on display. Jon’s first grain cart, planters, memorabilia & much more! Walk through a  replica of Jon’s first shop, complete with tools, jigs even a 5020 repower. Listen to Jon tell the story of his ideas through many video screens through the facility. And then, take a tour of the Kinze Manufacturing plant.

Darold Sindt Antique Museum in Keystone, IA. - Featuring a remarkable variety of approximately 200 tractors and implements plus riding mowers, pedal tractors, engines and other interesting memorabilia.

Plus a BONUS tour of the Kaiser Oliver Collection.

Learn more at the Heritage Iron website

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