Orange Obsession: Allis-Chalmers Museum Boasts Largest Collection
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The Model C’s adjustable, wide front end is one of a few produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as is the adjustable front 1950s Model B, which was built for peanut farming.
One special machine is the 1959 Model D17 LP Wheatland propane-burning tractor that carries serial no. 28097 – one of five Wheatlands known to exist. The Wheatland came with a wider platform, wide swinging drawbar and crown fenders to keep the dust off the farmer in the driver’s seat when used in dusty wheat country. The tractor is particularly special, Ernest says, because it’s the only existing Wheatland propane model, while the four others burn gas or diesel.
Asking Ernest to pick a favorite tractor is akin to asking a parent to name a favorite child. After some prodding, he finally admits that he holds a soft spot for a tractor that’s just a baby compared to the old-timers in his collection: An AC Model 170 that he bought in the 1970s with only 440 hours on the engine.
“Well,” Ernest chuckles, “it’s the newest tractor I’ve ever owned.”
Visitors can also see the family’s special-ordered orange International pick up bought in 1974 after their “orange obsession” began. In those years, Ernest and Loretta loaded their four children into the truck and toured the country, meeting other Allis aficionados along the way. The Nutsches still attend AC-oriented “Gathering of the Orange” events around the country, but now they arrive in a new orange-and-white Dodge pickup, pulling their special camper trailer designed to allow them to bring a tractor along.
In 2000, the international celebration was staged in Washington. Tourists from 38 states and five foreign countries packed the rural farming community for three days for the chance to view 338 AC tractors and other equipment. The event included tours through the nearby Washington City Power Plant, where Allis engines still crank out electricity for city customers.
Washington residents and the Nutsch family will host a show featuring AC machines in 2006, unaffiliated with the national Gathering of the Orange event. Rest assured there’ll be plenty of Persian orange on hand, thanks to Ernest’s AC obsession. FCFor more information: Washington AC is open “by appointment or by chance.” Write Ernest or Loretta Nutsch at 1002 D St., Washington, KS 66968; or call (785) 325-2867. The facility is located across from the Washington City Park, one block south of U.S. Highway 36. Deb Hadachek writes from a farm near Cuba, Kan. E-mail Deb at: email@example.com.
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