Pedal Tractor Pride

Pedal tractor collection born when dumpster yields rare relic

| January 2013

  • Red Case Vac
    When Ron pulled it out of a trash dumpster, this Case VAC pedal tractor launched a collection. A particularly rare piece, it's the only tractor in his collection he's had restored.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Big D
    A newer Big-D pedal tractor, manufactured by Scale Models.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Power Trac 502
    This Power Trac Model 502 pedal tractor was sold new in 1961.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Red BMC
    This BMC (Bike & Motor Club) pedal tractor is another rare and unusual piece in Ron's collection.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Powerama
    Little is known about this tin Powerama pedal tractor. Ron likes to leave his pedal tractors in their original condition; restoring and repainting can lower the toy's value, he says.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • FC Castelli Co
    This pedal tractor was manufactured by F.C. Castelli Co., Philadelphia. Parts are extremely hard to find for this unusual tractor.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Oliver 70 Row Corp
    This Oliver 70 Row Crop pedal tractor is one of just a few in Ron's collection modeled on actual tractors produced by leading manufacturers.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Club Cadet
    Weed whip engines provide excellent power for this pair of pedal tractors. The pink pedal tractor was made by Sears; the green one was made by Mustang. "Since then, I've come to realize that it's the only Mustang I've ever seen," Ron admits. "I wish I wouldn't have done what I did to it."
    Photo Courtesy Ron Fratzke
  • Murray Big 4
    A Murray Big 4, one of four Murray pedal tractors in Ron's collection.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • AMC Diesel
    Ron believes this AMC Diesel pedal tractor was built by American Machine Co.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Weed Whip Engines
    Weed whip engines provide excellent power for this pair of pedal tractors. The pink pedal tractor was made by Sears; the green one was made by Mustang. "Since then, I've come to realize that it's the only Mustang I've ever seen," Ron admits. "I wish I wouldn't have done what I did to it."
    Photo Courtesy Ron Fratzke
  • Hamilton
    Hamilton pedal tractors — and any tin pedal tractors for that matter — are difficult to find.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Go Trac
    The Go Trac, made by Universal Mfg. Co. Inc., and the Ranch Trac next to it, were likely manufactured by the same company. They are almost identically built, and the Ranch Trac Turbo 502 uses the same number as the other tractor made by Universal, the Power Trac Model 502.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Disc
    Ron made this disc to show with his pedal tractors.
    Photo By Bill Vossler
  • Tractor Collection
    A portion of Ron's pedal tractor display at the 2012 Mowthen (Minn.) Historical Power Association show. Ron grew up on a farm surrounded by Ford, Massey-Harris and Allis-Chalmers equipment. He's still looking for a Massey-Harris 44 and a Massey Ferguson, duplicating some of the farm toys he played with as a kid.
    Photo By Bill Vossler

  • Red Case Vac
  • Big D
  • Power Trac 502
  • Red BMC
  • Powerama
  • FC Castelli Co
  • Oliver 70 Row Corp
  • Club Cadet
  • Murray Big 4
  • AMC Diesel
  • Weed Whip Engines
  • Hamilton
  • Go Trac
  • Disc
  • Tractor Collection

Ron Fratzke owes his pedal tractor collection to a dumpster. “People cleaning out a house were throwing a lot of stuff into a dumpster,” he recalls. “As we were going by, we saw this old pedal tractor in there.”

After talking to the people who’d pitched the pedal tractor, Ron (who lives in Mora, Minn.) offered $10 for his dumpster dive, figuring the old pedal tractor might prove interesting. “When I pulled it out, I thought it was an old Allis-Chalmers,” he says, “but when I took it to a guy who knows pedal tractors, he said, ‘No, that’s a Case.’”

And not just any old Case, either. Ron had stumbled onto a rare and valuable Case VAC pedal tractor. Once he realized what he had, he decided to have the piece restored. It is the only piece in his collection of more than four dozen pedal tractors to get that treatment. “I don’t usually do that because often they lose value if they’ve been restored or repainted,” he explains. “But I had a guy who really knew what he was doing and I wanted the Case to look really nice.”

Carving out a category

That lucky discovery set Ron on the hunt for more pedal tractors. Despite the fact that he hit the jackpot with his first pedal tractor, he’s since veered away from those made by big manufacturers like John Deere, International Harvester and Ford. Most of those are built of cast aluminum; Ron’s taken a different direction. “I like the tin or steel pedal tractors because they are different from what everybody else is collecting,” he says. “And nowadays it seems like it’s harder to find the tin ones than the cast aluminum ones” — although the pedal tractor hardest for him to find was what’s called a John Deere small 60.



Many of the pedal tractors Ron unearths at auctions, flea markets and garage sales are produced by now-obscure manufacturers he’s never heard of. “When I find a new and different one, I do research on it so I know something about it,” he says.

His Power Trac Model 502 pedal tractor is a classic example of that. Made by Universal Mfg. Co. Inc., Olney, Ill., the tractor sold for $37.95 ($293 today) when it was produced in 1961. It was promoted as the companion to the Deluxe Go Trac and a Buggy Buddy with trailer. According to an old catalog Ron found, the company also made scooters, trailers and a palomino horse model. Universal also manufactured Ron’s AMF Power Trac pedal tractor, which is identical to the Go Trac.

Oldfarmboy
9/9/2018 4:00:28 PM

I have a 1959 and pedal tractor and have never found another like it though I can find sales ads from 1959. I would love to know it's value.


ACGUY
6/11/2018 5:10:21 PM

I’m now looking to sell Allis Chalmers D-14 Pedal Tractor and Wagon Attachment (both circa 1954). Original condition -- well loved! Text or call (617)930-9333. Pics available.


Harleyman
5/26/2018 7:33:19 AM

I have a old AMF junior trac pedal tractor who wants to buy it all works 9895780186 call or text ask for Troy




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