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Variety is the Spice of Life

Minnesota collector’s happy farmer tractor and Emerson-Brantingham engine make unusual show displays.

| July 2020

Westphal-tractor
Glen Westphal with his mother at the wheel of his 1917 Happy Farmer Model B tractor. Photo courtesy Glen Westphal.

When it comes to old iron, Glen Westphal likes to mix it up. That’s why his show displays are unusual pieces like a 1917 Happy Farmer tractor or a rare ca. 1918 Emerson-Brantingham Model U gas engine.

“I figure the whole idea of a show is to have different items to display, so the key is variety,” he says. “When I take the Happy Farmer to a show, there’s a good chance it’s the only one there.”

 Glen, who lives in Elk River, Minnesota, caught the old iron bug from his father. “About the time I was born (in the 1960s), my dad, Ronald Westphal, started collecting engines and tractors,” he says. “On our hobby farm, I grew up with tractors and engines, and didn’t know any different. Whatever my father did, I went along.”



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Rear view of Glen’s Happy Farmer. Lugs were removed from the tractor’s steel wheels before Ronald Westphal bought the tractor. Bill Vossler photo.

He was so immersed in the hobby at such a young age that he didn’t realize that his peers weren’t. “I didn’t know that other kids didn’t have tractors and engines around,” he admits. “And until I got older, I didn’t realize they weren’t going to shows either.”



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