Sporty Import

| June 2002

Doug Gantvoort struck up a conversation with a group of Dutch tractor collectors at a California show in the 1980s; it proved a turning point in his life. Today, Doug and his wife, Mary Ann, have become major importers of vintage European tractors for the U.S. collecting market.

The Dutchmen were searching for vintage U.S. tractors when they first met, and Doug had some for sale. He invited them to visit him at home in Clear Lake, S.D., and two months later, they actually showed up.

'I think I sold them nine tractors that day,' he recalls, 'and two years later, I got interested in their stuff.'

Their 'stuff' included Porsche, Allgaiar, Vierzon, Lanz and John Deere Lanz tractors; all are German except Vierzon, which is French. Doug and Mary Ann began regularly importing various ones for resale.

Today, the Dutchmen are retired and the Gantvoorts work with Hubert Mawet of Belgium. Doug says he knows of only about a dozen others in the United States who import vintage European tractors, and no one but he and Mary Ann do it regularly.

Although not as famous as their sports car namesakes, Porsche tractors were designed by the same man, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who also designed the Volkswagen car. Doug describes him as 'the Henry Ford of Europe.'