Take an Old Tractor and Call Me in the Morning

South Dakota man relieves stress by restoring vintage tractors

| August 2020

The first tractor Larry drove was a 1948 Oliver 70 Row Crop like this one, his most recent restoration project. The 70 Row Crop was produced from 1935 to 1948.

Larry Kruse compares his hobby of restoring vintage farm tractors to that of pheasant hunting. “I get both the thrill of the hunt and the prize it provides,” he says. “A hunter walks through a field or through weeds looking for game. I do that to look for parts. I have to clean and prepare the parts I find, too. The difference at the end of the hunt is that I use my checkbook instead of a gun to bring home the bounty.”

Like many game hunters, Larry began his hobby as a means to relieve the stress accumulated through his work as a safety engineer. He chose his career path while growing up on a farm near Carroll, Iowa.

“My employer decided I could work from home instead of coming into an office,” Larry says. “My farm mentality led me to work at my computer like a farmer often does in his fields, way past dark.”

Old iron as a cure for stress

Nearly 20 years ago, in 2000, Larry’s wife, Dahna, suggested he find a hobby to help him get away from his desk. Soon after, an advertisement placed by Nebraska’s Elkhorn Valley Antique Power Assn. (EVAPA) caught Larry’s eye.

“When I was growing up, I spent many hours on my family’s 1947 Oliver 70 using a 2-bottom, 16-inch plow, a 4-row cultivator, or a mounted 2-row picker,” Larry says. “When I returned from the Army, I found my dad (Elmer) had torn apart our Oliver 88. The tractor had been apart for so long that Dad lost the head. It took about three years to find it so I could finish the restoration.”


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!

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