Toolbox Trade for a Rockol Tractor

Minnesota man adds rare Rockol tractor to his collection.

| October 2016

  • The restored and repainted front of the Rockol tractor renews the sleek of a machine that is some 66 years old.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Side views of the rare 1949 Rockol Model B 77 tractor.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The Rockol used a Dodge 217-cubic-inch, 6-cylinder flathead engine.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Steering wheel and dash gauges on the Rockol Model B 77.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Paul Husmann at the wheel of his rare 1949 Rockol Model B 77.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Rear view of the Rockol tractor, which was rated to pull three 14-inch plows. “I suspect this tractor had more power than a tractor of the same rating,” Paul says, “even though it has less weight.”
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Four unique tractors (left to right): Custom 98, Wards, Custom Model C and a Rockol.
    Photo by Bill Vossler

Paul Husmann knows a good deal when he sees one, so when he got the opportunity to trade a toolbox for a tractor, he jumped at the chance. Even better, the tractor is a rare 1949 Rockol Model B 77, sold by Rock Oil Co. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

But there was nothing underhanded about the deal. “I’d been bugging my brother-in-law about that tractor for a few years until he decided to sell it or trade it,” Paul says. “He said he needed a toolbox for his shop, and I had an empty one available, so we made the trade. He knew it was a rare tractor, and he decided he was never going to do anything about restoring it, so we traded.”

Abandoned to a weed patch

The Rockol was not Paul’s first old iron project, as evidenced by several antique tractors on his property near Cold Spring, Minnesota: a Ford 9N, an Oliver 70 Standard, a Farmall 450 and a Minneapolis-Moline 445. “On our dairy farm, the Moline is what I grew up on,” he says.

From Edmonton, his Rockol was shipped to Divide County, North Dakota, where a local farmer owned it for several years. Later, Paul’s brother-in-law and cousin bought it at an estate sale to use it as an auger tractor.

Farms in that area are large and fields are not always adjacent. The Rockol, with road speeds of up to 40 mph, worked well for moving augers from one place to another. “A lot of those big farms have various bin locations, and the farmers want something that will go fast, pulling the auger down the road, going from place to place,” Paul says. “The Rockol did that.”

When the engine on the Rockol went bad, the tractor was abandoned to a weed patch behind Paul’s brother-in-law’s shop for about five years, until Paul convinced his brother-in-law to give it up.


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