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New Holland SP166 Baler

A complete restoration required to bring Michigan man’s “under-the-barn” find New Holland baler back to life.

| January 2018

  • Jim Arends’ handsomely restored New Holland SP166 baler. Two similar balers – unrestored, but running – sold in a September 2017 auction for $11,000 and $11,500.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • In some early models of the New Holland SP166 baler, the front-wheel assembly broke off after hitting an obstruction in the field. That was rectified in later units.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • The sheet metal and other mechanicals on the right side of the baler were replaced by pieces from a Model 66 donor.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • Lyal Stuart repaired the baler’s badly damaged twine box.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • The baler’s original seat cushion was missing and the back was beyond repair. New seat components were built.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • By the time the restoration project was complete, parts from five Wisconsin engines were used to assemble the pair required.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • A new gas tank was built to replace the missing one.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • The baler’s rear end is a Ford truck unit.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • Lyal (left) and Jim.
    Photo by Jerry Mattson
  • The baler rescue team (from left): Jeff Schmidt, Lyal and Mary Stuart and Jim Arends.
    Photo courtesy Mary Stuart
  • Jim Arends with his new purchase.
    Photo courtesy Mary Stuart

Most people who restore antique farm equipment fantasize about making the perfect barn find. Few, however, would accept the challenges presented to Jim Arends, Conklin, Michigan, by his “under-the-barn” find.

This story begins in January 2017 when an employee of Burnips Equipment, Dorr, Michigan, saw a “having a bad day” photo posted online. A piece of farm equipment was just visible under a collapsed barn. He positively identified the piece as a vintage self-propelled New Holland baler.

He contacted Jim, a tractor and farm equipment restorer working part time at another Burnips location, to see if he would be interested in this piece of history. The answer was, “Yes.”

A friend of the Arends family in Wisconsin did some detective work, calling farm equipment businesses located near the collapsed barn, and discovered who owned the baler.

Contact was made and a purchase price agreed on. In March, Jim and friends Lyal and Mary Stuart headed to Wittenberg, Wisconsin, with a truck and trailer. Once there, they were joined by fellow tractor collector Jeff Schmidt.

Jim paid for the baler and the crew began to free it from the woodpile that once was a barn. Using a backhoe, tractor and a chainsaw, the team spent more than four hours freeing the baler.

1/2/2018 2:28:29 PM

interestingly my father bought a New Holland "66" tow behind baler; with motor in (as best I can remember) 1952. - that baler must have baled a million bales . yes it required some upkeep ; the Kotter's wore and needed upkeep -- but if every piece of equipment I owned over the past seventy years held up to do as much as that machine did I would not have half the gray hair I do today.


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