FIRST THINGS

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Jason B. Harmon

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They're small, portable and inexpensive to own. More than that, they're one of the country's hottest 'new' farm collectibles. Of course I'm referring to Cub Cadet garden tractors built by International Harvester Co. This issue of Farm Collector shines a much-needed spotlight on the little white and yellow garden tractors, with an information-packed feature written by our resident Cub Cadet expert, Hank Will.

Hank's managed to wrap 20 years of Cub Cadet history into five pages filled with little-known facts about one of the most famous garden tractors ever built.

Such a quality story is no surprise from Hank, whose work has filled our pages since he first penned a tale about a restored Mead Mighty Mouse crawler a year ago. That's because Hank not only writes about old iron (even some not-so-old) but he also collects and restores Cub Cadet garden tractors.

Like many Cub Cadet collectors, Hank's passion for the handsome machines is relatively new. Hank bought his first Cub Cadet in 2001. Yet, now he owns 22 and has restored six, mostly from the ground up.

Like all good writers, Hank's done his research on Cub Cadets. His story gives a blow-by-blow history of the numerous Cub Cadet models since the tractor was first introduced in 1961 until the company sold the line in 1981.

The story also offers a glimpse into the Cub Cadet design process with an exclusive interview with Harold Schramm. Harold worked as a design engineer for IH from 1958-1985, and was closely involved with the Cub Cadet line.

Harold offered unprecedented insight into the stages of Cub Cadet development, but he also unveiled a previously-unknown Cub Cadet.

The tractor was recently identified as one of the three experimental models built at the IH Engineering Center in Hinsdale, Ill., in early 1960. In fact, it may've been the only experimental Cub Cadet ever built -although three were authorized.

This story is the first of two Cub Cadet features Farm Collector will provide this spring. Be sure to read the May 2004 issue to learn Cub Cadet restoration tips from Hank, as well as more information on Harold's experimental tractor.

Jason B. Harmon, Editor,jharmon@ogdenpubs.com