Family with Lust for Rust

A unique family hobby: restoring vintage tractors

| January 1999

  • Jason estimates that he spent 500 hours on this Case D, which is styled with fourth gear.
    Jason estimates that he spent 500 hours on this Case D, which is styled with fourth gear. Both the D and VI are coated in Flambeau Red. "That's the correct color for this age tractor," he says.
    Photo by William Cowan
  • This Case VI was used at some time in its career by the federal government
    This Case VI was used at some time in its career by the federal government, and had a sickle bar mower on it that didn't come with the tractor. Case made just 734 Vi's. An electric starter and lights were supposed to be standard equipment with the V industrial. "But this one didn't have it, so we put an electric starter and lights on it," Jason says. "It makes it a lot nicer to drive."
    Photo by William Cowan
  • Jason's Case VI had a bracket on the fender, but he didn't know what it was for. Later, his grandfather said it was probably for a fire extinguisher.
    Jason's Case VI had a bracket on the fender, but he didn't know what it was for. Later, his grandfather said it was probably for a fire extinguisher. "That was an option on this model," Jason says. "And then we found one."
    Photo by William Cowan
  • The D awaiting restoration
    The D awaiting restoration
    Photo by William Cowan
  • The Bickel family with the 1950 Case DC 3 that started it all
    The Bickel family with the 1950 Case DC 3 that started it all: At back, left to right: Bill Bickel, Jason Bickel and Josh Bickel. Front, left to right: Dolores and Gayle Bickel, Jolene Bickel and her parents, Marva Lee and John.
    Photo by William Cowan
  • The line-up: Jason's VI, Bill's 1936 Model C, and Jason's D.
    The line-up: Jason's VI, Bill's 1936 Model C, and Jason's D.
    Photo by William Cowan

  • Jason estimates that he spent 500 hours on this Case D, which is styled with fourth gear.
  • This Case VI was used at some time in its career by the federal government
  • Jason's Case VI had a bracket on the fender, but he didn't know what it was for. Later, his grandfather said it was probably for a fire extinguisher.
  • The D awaiting restoration
  • The Bickel family with the 1950 Case DC 3 that started it all
  • The line-up: Jason's VI, Bill's 1936 Model C, and Jason's D.

Let this serve as a warning: what happened to the Bickel family could happen in your household.

Once a normal, extended family spanning three generations, this group of relatives has become nearly consumed by – how else to put it? – The Lust For Rust.

"Oh, they'll haul in stuff with flat tires, and bushel baskets full of parts," says Dolores Bickel, the matriarch of the clan. "You name it, they've got it."

It all started innocently enough. One day 10 years ago, Bill Bickel – Dolores' son – borrowed a tractor from his father-in-law.



"Well, I had some spare time," he says, "so I decided to paint it."

One thing led to another. Or, to be more precise, to about 50 others. Today, Bill Bickel, his sons, Jason and Josh, and his father, Gayle, ride herd over more than four dozen vintage tractors. Some are restored; most aren't.



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