Stable Full of Ponys
Donald Herzog's tractor collection is mainly Massey-Harris
Massey-Harris Pony tractors are Donald’s favorites. He likes the way they look and how softly they run.
Donald Herzog owns an entire herd of Ponys – Massey-Harris Pony tractors, that is – along with another dozen fully restored Massey-Harris tractors.
“My dad had an old 4-wheel drive General Purpose Massey-Harris on steel that we used when we farmed,” he says. “That’s how I got interested in Massey-Harris equipment.” Donald had a Massey-Harris 20, 30 and 44 when he farmed on the home place, so he continued the interest that way.
When Donald and his wife attended a tractor show in Little Falls, Minn., in the early 1990s, he saw his first Massey-Harris Pony and fell in love. “A man from Pierz, Minn., had a Pony there,” he recalls. “I never realized they ran that nicely. I stood beside it and could barely hear it run. I just thought it was a nice looking little tractor and I got stuck on it. I told my wife I was going to get one some time. At the time I didn’t have the money or the time to fool with them.”
A collection begins
Five years later that changed, and Donald began searching for Ponys. He went to an auction at Detroit Lakes, Minn., where he found one in poor condition. “You could wiggle the front wheels back and forth on the spindles, and they wanted $4,500 for it,” he says. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford any of them.”
Then he saw an ad for a Pony in North Dakota, made the trip and brought back the fully restored tractor, as well as a Massey-Harris Pacer. “The Pony was painted perfectly, but the engine was worn out,” Donald says. “I already had doubts when I first heard the engine run, and when I took it apart I found out the engine needed a complete overhaul, new pistons, reboring, everything.”
Donald looked on the bright side. “It got me a little bit educated on those tractors, so I realized I would have to be a little careful from then on.” After that, he found other Ponys for sale, and people who knew of his interest contacted him. Soon he had added seven to his collection. “Now they’re pretty hard to find, and I don’t know of anybody else who has as many as I do,” he says.
Good as new
Donald wants his restored tractors to look like they’ve just come off the factory assembly line. When he gets a new tractor, he tears it completely apart. He and his son David, a mechanic, do the engine work on the tractors, new rings and other overhauling. If new pistons or reboring are needed, they hire that work.
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