Like so many, my AC passion started with my dad’s first tractor – a 1949 WD. He bought it new in March 1950 and we used it on our dairy farm in Merrill, Wisconsin. Dad didn’t like horses, so he got the tractor as soon as he got married. He was a pretty innovative farmer for the time – he bought an Allis rotobaler and was the first farmer to have a baler in the area. Unfortunately the rotobaler was traded in for a square baler in 1965. The WD was our main tractor on the farm for decades.
My dad sold the cows in 1975 and in 1992 I was lucky enough to buy the WD from him, which became the first tractor I restored. It was pretty worn out, so I took it completely apart, rebuilt the engine, removed all the paint (I remember that tractor was used for scaffolding when he repainted the barn and 5 gallons of red paint spilled over the tractor, so that had to be removed) and repainted it. At the time when I restored the WD I really didn’t know any Allis people and was dependent upon a dealer, Lennox in SD. I bought all my parts from the dealer and went by their recommendations, ended up painting it Corporate Orange as that was the new color of the day.
My interests expanded to the other tractors of that style, the fenders and hoods, so I decided to collect WD 45 diesel, propane, WC, WF, RC. That then expanded into all the attachments, then a few other tractors came along, and “suddenly” I had put together over 30 tractors! Most of the tractors were not running when I got them, but I rebuilt them and fixed them up, as well as combines, plows, planters, and other equipment that goes with them.
I have three sons and I am happy to say they are interested in the tractors as well. I have a few acres that I call “my sandbox” and we like to run the tractors around in it.
I went to my first show in Rolag in 1996. Since then I have become involved in the network of folks from all over who I have had the opportunity to meet, visit with, and share experiences.
In 2016 my shed was filling up, so I decided it was time to retire and play more with my passion, moving towards not expanding my collection so much, but improving it and making it more museum quality. In the process of putting all the tractors and equipment together I have learned a lot and acquired lots of leftover parts, so if you are interested in talking with me, I may have some experiences to help you out on your projects. My son also started up this website for me!
My focus is on original if possible and not aftermarket. I like to bring them back to the way they were when they came off the assembly line. By collecting the abandoned tractors I am able to get a lot of those original parts and get them into tractors so they are in working order.
Many collectors that I know have passed on their knowledge and now it’s my turn in hopes that we can continue the collecting and help others create their own stories.
I love to “talk Allis” and welcome others to come and look at my collection. My focus is on rescue. My first step often is to dismantle because many are full of water – so you have to get the water out to salvage the parts. I keep the parts on the shelf, in order, so when I go back to rebuild a tractor or attachment, I know where the stuff is. I have had many people stop by who are so tickled because they have been looking for a part for months and I can pull one off the shelf that fits the bill.
After spending so much time putting things together I really like having my own show to see any time I want!