Kemptville, Ontario farm retirement auction yesterday (April 12, 2014)...1982 Allis Chalmers 4W-305 4WD tractor with only 1,675 original "1 owner" hours, 3pt. and PTO, sold for a new record high auction sale price of....$71,000.
But what I found just as or more interesting than the new record auction sale price was the story of both the tractor's history and the story of the buyer. But before I touch on those angles, first let's hear from one of the men who sold the tractor on yesterday's sale, Stewart James with James and Hill Auction Service, LTD.
"In 43 years in the auction business we've never had as much interest in an item," said James. "We had phone bidders from Colorado, Pennsylvania and Michigan and we had three bidders on the ground. When it came time to sell it...it got so quiet."
"The bidding started at $25,000, then boom, boom, boom. The bidder from Colorado had a 12,000 acre farm and told us if he got the tractor it would straight into his museum collection and never be used again."
TRACTOR'S HISTORY: it was bought new back in 1982 from a local Ontario dealer, after the tractor had been transferred from a dealer in Buffalo, NY. Original new sale price of the 1982 Allis Chalmers 4W-305? $91,000.
The buyer of the tractor was Kevin Wilson, a young farmer from about an hour away in Vankleek, Ontario. Kevin farms 5,200 acres with his father Ian and brother Gary Wilson. Kevin's grandfather Bob Wilson ran an Allis Chalmers dealership from the late 1950's into the early 1970's. Grandpa Bob's dealership went by Bob Wilson Sales. Here's a pic of Bob Wilson (far left) back in the day receiving a sales award from Allis Chalmers territory managers.
Here's a pic of Kevin's father Ian Wilson as a young lad standing in back of an AC WD-45 on his father Bob Wilson's dealership yard:
Despite the family's obviously strong historical ties to Allis Chalmers tractors, Kevin said nostalgia wasn't the only driver behind the $71,000 purchase of the 1982 4W-305 on the auction yesterday:
"I'd say 60% of the reason was for nostalgia," said Wilson. "But we farm 5,200 acres, we grow soybeans, corn and wheat. We have been looking for a 300 HP tractor for a long time. We had a local dealer come out and show us a new one for $450,000, but I'd like to pay off the tractor in my lifetime."
"We didn't want to spend half a million dollars for a tractor to pull a ripper."
Kevin also relayed another common theme I've been hearing more and more from buyers of very nice condition, low hour older tractors the past two years...."my brother Gary is very good working on our equipment and we won't have to hook this tractor up to a computer to fix it."
I asked Kevin how the day unfolded yesterday and his emotions bidding on a such a rare (Allis Chalmers only made 400 or so 4W-305's) low hour tractor.
"We didn't expect it go for what it went for. We thought maybe an Allis Chalmers dealer or two may be in on it. We didn't make our first bid until $61,000."
Someone in the auction crowd yesterday actually shot video of it selling...here's that video:
"We are very happy," said Wilson. "You get what you pay for. On the drive home yesterday we stopped for coffee and got to laughing about bidding against someone who wanted to put the tractor in a museum."
Wilson told now he and his brother and fathere are on the lookout for one more Allis Chalmers tractor, a 4W-220. Anyone know of any around?