A-Plus: Allis-Chalmers Model A-Plus

Gathering of the Orange brings in a record number of Allis-Chalmers model A's

A 1949 AC G and loader

A 1949 AC G and loader, owned by LaVerne and Sandy Ostdiek, Cheyenne, Wyo.

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Allis-Chalmers Model A's came out of the woodwork for the 2000 Gathering of the Orange at Washington, Kan., in early June. 

"We talked to a guy who said that anytime you have more Allis-Chalmers Model A's than WC's, C's and B's, you've really done something," said Ernest Nutsch. "Nobody's ever seen more than three or four A's at a show, and we had nearly 60."

Ernest lives in Washington, where he operates a private museum billed as the world's largest Allis Chalmers antique tractor collection. When the AC collectors hit town, the collection took on epic proportions.

"We had eight of the first 11 Allis-Chalmers model A's made," he said. "That's got to be a record."

Just 1,225 Allis-Chalmers model A's were made from 1936 (when 25 were produced) to 1942 (when 10 were made).

Model A's weren't the only rare birds at the Kansas show. Other highlights included a bathtub fender Orchard Model M crawler ("You hardly ever see one at a show, and we had two at this one," Ernest said), three 6-12's, and a 1914 10-18.

More than 350 tractors and pieces of equipment were displayed, including the 100 in Ernest's museum, which was open to the public during the show. A crowd of 6,000 to 10,000 came from as far as Canada and the east coast. Thirty-eight states and four foreign countries were represented.

"We had a real good show," Ernest said. "We talked to people who couldn't be there, who live 500-600 miles away, and they said they met Allis tractors coming and going all weekend."

A special feature of the show was a commemorative belt buckle with matching Allis serial numbers. A formal registry initiated more than two years ago allows a numbered buckle to be paired with the tractor of the same number, "if the tractor turns up," Ernest said.

Two Gatherings of the Orange are typically held each year, one east and one west. In a different arrangement this year, the events were held in Kansas and Ontario. Next year the shows revert to the east/west plan. FC