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Lane Ranger

Man Collects Tractors From Around the World !

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Great Article I thought the European Members would enjoy!~





Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and Fiat.

While those brands are most often associated with cars, for Cass County resident Dean McCloskey, they’re part of his vast tractor collection. And they’re just some of the makes from over the past century and across the globe lining his large barn and yard.

“I’ll guarantee you that you’ll see things out here that you never knew existed or never heard of,” he said as oldies played on the radio in his shop.


McCloskey said he strives to track down lesser known brands, some of which he added are one of a handful ever made or even one of a handful in existence.

He has tractors hailing from across the U.S. along with France, Germany, England, Italy, Russia and Sweden. The wheels on his Japanese rice paddy tractor are equipped with paddles to make it through flooded rice fields. His tractor made in Swaziland in southern Africa was designed to replace a team of oxen and be able to haul over 1,100 pounds of produce to market.

Then there’s his David Brown Cropmaster from the 1950s, built in England and sold in Canada.

“That thing just runs like a sewing machine,” McCloskey said, adding just about all of the tractors in his collection are operational.

He finds many of his tractors at auctions. His Fiat implement from the early 1960s came from a junkyard in Illinois. Another one of his tractors was made by Sears.

McCloskey said his father, Allen, who lives in Galveston, started collecting tractors “by accident” in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“I learned a lot from my dad and he’s learning a lot now,” McCloskey said, nodding toward his son, Cole, a walking 13-year-old tractor encyclopedia. With ease the teenager lists when and where the tractors in his dad’s collection were made and who their companies’ founders were along with highlights and lowlights of the firms’ histories.

One of McCloskey’s tractors has to be steered with one’s feet. Made by the Friday Tractor Co. out of Hartford, Michigan in the 1970s, it keeps the operator low to the ground and is ideal for tasks like vegetable patches and strawberries.

Cole pointed to the tractor’s other components, including its cultivator handles, clutch, gearshift and hydraulics.

“You got to have about eight hands to work everything but you can steer it with your feet,” McCloskey said. “It’s quite a contraption to drive.”

McCloskey’s 1920 Rumely Oil Pull tractor has to be started with a large flywheel on its side. Cole called it a “prairie tractor,” a type of implement he added that can have front wheels taller than him with rear ones higher than 10 feet.

“They made some big, big tractors back in the day made for busting the prairie sod, the land that had never been plowed before,” McCloskey said. “It was hard to till up, it was hard to get a plow through it because it was just as God created it and the soil hadn’t been loosened up.”

McCloskey said his father, a welder, restored his first tractor for a company that asked him to so that it could be put on display at the county fair. It was a circa 1919 model by Reliable Engine Co. out of Portsmouth, Ohio. The machine requires more than five steps to get it started that have to be carried out in a specific order, but it still runs.

“It took a lot of trial and error to find the correct sequence and the correct pattern and it’s something I got to teach him,” McCloskey said, nodding to Cole once more.

The company McCloskey’s father restored the tractor for ended up giving it to him after the fair and the collection “snowballed” from there, McCloskey said.


Despite his large fleet of implements, McCloskey does not farm. But he enjoys studying the variations across the different designs and ways engineers from various countries and eras have gone about conceiving farm machinery.

“There’s different features about each one that are either better or worse than the rest,” he said.

He also enjoys the challenges that come with restoring old tractors, which he said often require an extensive search for parts and sometimes even making them himself.

“One of the best attributes to have in this kind of hobby is patience because you can’t just expect to go to a local NAPA store and find piston rings for something like this,” he said, pointing to his 1969 Lamborghini R230 DT tractor. “You can have the best set of tools in the world and the best technical library but if you don’t have patience to work on some of these things, then this hobby is not for you.”

McCloskey also likes finding out as much about his tractors’ histories as he can.

“These things will be around rusting away for forever,” he said. “But unless you know the story, then they don’t really mean too much.”

He’s part of a group that shares that goal — the Tip Wa Antique Tractor & Engine Club. It’s having its 15th annual show this weekend in Walton.

“It’s a way to relive that history and to show people that some of the equipment was a little more crude back in the day than today’s tractors that have air-conditioned cabs and GPS, radios and all that stuff,” he said. “It’s just a way to make sure that that’s not forgotten.”

Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130.


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Edited by Lane Ranger
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Interesting story. Thanks.

Wish the would have included more photos in the article. 

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Unfortunately I can't access the article. Something to do with data protection.

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