Tracked Equipment Rolls Over Baraboo

2008 Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club show featured endless tracks

| December 2008

  • crawlers_cat15
    A 1932 wide-gauge Caterpillar Fifteen, owned by Bob Stewart.
  • crawlers_ACKvsnowplow
    This 1935 Allis-Chalmers Model K with V-snowplow and right and left wings still goes to work at the Badger club’s show grounds, pushing snow and pulling a 6-bottom land plow. The crawler is also outfitted with ice cleats. Owned by Ralph Blum, Baraboo, Wis., the rig was actively used by a Wisconsin township until 1978; the wood cab is original.
  • crawlers_cat157C
    A 1932 Caterpillar Fifteen 7C Series (the “small” Fifteen) with a high-clearance conversion. The tractor’s serial number? 7C77. “I’m pretty lucky,” owner Bob Stewart says with a smile.
  • crawlers_cat15yellow
    A high-clearance 1932 Caterpillar Fifteen, No. 4 of 95 built, owned by Bob Stewart.
  • crawlers_catsmall15COB
    A Caterpillar “small” Fifteen with sickle bar mower, owned by Bob Stewart. The Caterpillar Fifteen (PV Series) was a scaled-up Model Ten. Tractors in that line are referred to as “big” Fifteens, differentiating them from those in the Fifteen 7C Series (the “small” Fifteens) which were the same size as the Ten.
  • crawlers_ChainTred
    Featured equipment at the Badger show ranged from the tall to the small, as in this 1950 5 1/2 hp Chain Tred tractor owned by Peter Young, Muscoda, Wis.
  • crawlers_cletracH
    1918 Cletrac Model H, owned by Bob Anderson.
  • crawlers_corpstiller
    Mechanized tiller made for Corps of Engineers during the World War II era.
  • crawlers_fordAsnowbird
    1930 Ford Model A with Snow Bird track kit, owned by Jerry and Mickie Parr. Company promotional materials boasted of the Snow Bird’s prominent role in Admiral Byrd’s second Antarctic expedition of 1933-35.
  • crawlers_fordsonCOB
    Bob Zimmerly’s 1925 Fordson crawler conversion. “It was one rusty mess when I got it,” Bob says. Red River Special Co., Racine, Wis., made the kit. At least four companies made similar conversion kits, Bob notes.
  • crawlers_IHt20TracTracTor
    Herb Miller at the controls of his 1936 International T-20 TracTracTor.
  • crawlers_olivercletracHG
    Elmer Knapper’s 1946 Oliver Cletrac Model HG.
  • crawlers_IHtd9
    A 1949 International TD-9 crawler with Bucyrus Erie 9-foot dozer blade, owned by Allen Steele.
  • crawlers_IHtd24
    International TD-24, owned by Eugene Giebel, Baraboo.
  • crawlers_oliverOC46
    A 1959 Oliver OC-46 G3 crawler loader.
  • crawlers_oliverCOB
    A rare Oliver Cletrac Model HG 31 crawler, owned by Bob Zimmerly. Cletrac offered this model in three gauges: 31, 42 and 68 inches. The narrow gauge was designed for vineyard use. Bob’s collection also includes a Cletrac with a blade and rubber tracks originally used by the New York City public works department to plow snow from city sidewalks.
  • crawlers_ZimmerlyGiebel
    Bob Zimmerly (left) and Don Giebel.
  • crawlers_USTRAC
    1948 USTRAC with blade, owned by Bob Zimmerly.

  • crawlers_cat15
  • crawlers_ACKvsnowplow
  • crawlers_cat157C
  • crawlers_cat15yellow
  • crawlers_catsmall15COB
  • crawlers_ChainTred
  • crawlers_cletracH
  • crawlers_corpstiller
  • crawlers_fordAsnowbird
  • crawlers_fordsonCOB
  • crawlers_IHt20TracTracTor
  • crawlers_olivercletracHG
  • crawlers_IHtd9
  • crawlers_IHtd24
  • crawlers_oliverOC46
  • crawlers_oliverCOB
  • crawlers_ZimmerlyGiebel
  • crawlers_USTRAC

The parade of tractors at last summer’s Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club show had a decidedly unique tone. “It sounds,” said onlooker Wade Opperman, Baraboo, Wis., “like a division of Panzers.”

The parade’s throaty rumble emanated from the show’s feature: endless tracks. And endless it seemed, with more than 75 pieces of tracked equipment on display. The feature was marked by all the variety of a good potluck supper: Displays ranged from very big to very small, very old to comparatively young, familiar brands to the nearly unknown, immaculately restored to working clothes.

Cat collector
Bob Stewart, Walworth, Wis., showed off part of a very serious Caterpillar collection. Like many, his collection began innocently enough. “I really didn’t know what I was buying,” he says. “But then I met my demise: I bought a book. And that was the beginning of the end.” He’s since pared his collection of Cat, Holt and Best classics from 100 to about 60 and is full of new-found resolve. “I’m not buying any more common tractors,” he says. “I’m only looking at rare tractors now.” Some of those were on display at the Badger show.

“There were six tractors Cat built fewer than 100 of,” he notes. “I have four of them and two of those are here: a 5E Series R2 (just 83 were built, and Bob’s is No. 70), and a 1932 high-clearance Fifteen. It’s No. 4 of 95 built.”
Bob bought the Fifteen from the Charlie Gaus estate in central Illinois. “It was partly disassembled,” he says. “They thought it was just a parts tractor.” An immaculate restoration includes a nod to Bob’s friend: A decal on the back end reads “In Memory of Charlie Gaus.”



Another Fifteen, a 1932 “big” Fifteen wide-gauge, is also a sentimental favorite of Bob’s. “It once belonged to Dave Smith, Woodburn, Ore., one of the founders of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club,” he says. “It’s pretty special.” The tractor is original, and Bob plans to leave it that way – including words scrawled on the fender (and now protected by a sheet of Plexiglas) by Dave when he sold the piece: “Take good care of my rusty friend.”

Bob’s display was a mix of bright primary colors and the patina of age. A 1932 Caterpillar Fifteen 7C Series (known as the “small” Fifteen) with a high-clearance conversion was already a showstopper. Then Bob painted it bright orange. “It’s an after-market conversion,” he says. “I put orange paint on it so nobody thinks I’m trying to pass it off as anything else.” One of 307 Cat Fifteens built, this is the only one Bob’s seen with the conversion. 



SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube

Classifieds