Massey Ferguson Snowmobile Collector Keeps Vintage Sleds Running

One young man's first love was for antique snowmobiles and old machines geared toward the farmer.

| February 2012

Doug Holicky is a young man who likes old things. “I’ve always liked old machines,” he says. “They’re simple and easy to work on, and – for the most part – affordable, if you’re willing to do a lot of the work yourself.”

Doug, who lives in New Prague, Minn., fell in love with Massey Ferguson snowmobiles in his teens after using one owned by his uncle. By the time he was 16, he had one of his own. Now 31, he’s had them ever since. He also collects John Deere, Massey-Harris and Massey Ferguson tractors, along with MF literature, clothes, signs, lawn mowers and farm toys that reflect those bigger tractors. “I’m the kind of guy who gets a 5-gallon bucket of parts and uses them,” he admits, “whether it’s for snowmobiles, garden tractors or tractors.” But Massey Ferguson snowmobiles remain his first love.

Starting out young

Doug’s first Massey Ferguson, a 1971 500 SST, was drug out of an iron pile destined for the scrapyard. “My uncle told me about it,” he recalls, “and said if I wanted to build one, this guy was just scrapping it out and it was heading to the salvage yard.”

Doug went to get the machine on a snowy day and rode it down a hill, powered by nothing more than gravity. “I paid $15 for it,” he says. “The hood was there and the framework and skis. I had to find an engine for it, and put it together out of parts to make it work. I also sewed the seats, which were missing.”

The restored Massey Ferguson made its debut at a snowmobile show in Waconia, Minn. Onlookers gave Doug an enthusiastic reception. “I was 17, and people offered to buy it from me right there,” he says. “That made me feel good.”

A working collection

Doug later sold that first Massey to another collector, but his cupboard’s not bare. He currently owns 15 MF snowmobiles. Nine are in running condition; the others are waiting in the wings. Not all are candidates for restoration. “I have a couple of nice original machines that I haven’t done much to,” he says. “I might do some cosmetic painting on them, but mostly I won’t paint or polish if they look nice and are mechanically original.”