Stories about vintage construction equipment and their collectors continued to be popular in 2022 for Equipment World audiences.
Over the year we profiled rare Cat, Deere and Kubota equipment – among many others – and also came across “Big Roy,” a 1972 All-Chalmers HD-41 dozer in rural South Carolina. The HD-41s were the largest dozers of their day.
We’re glad to see readers enjoy these stories as much as we do in telling them.
We’ve listed the top five vintage-equipment stories of 2022 below, along with links on how you can access them if you want to read more. You can also check out our Vintage Equipment section on equipmentworld.com to read from our full collection.
After years of driving past a huge, rusting dozer in rural South Carolina, Frank Burke stopped one day to check it out. He had stumbled across a 1972 Allis-Chalmers HD-41, considered to be the world’s largest dozer in its day. He soon learned it was being dismantled for the scrap heap, so he called a friend who was a collector of antique Allis-Chalmers equipment to let him know of his discovery. So began the saga of saving “Big Roy,” as the dozer came to be known. Now it comes out each year at the Lowcountry Antique Tractor and Engine Association shows in South Carolina to wow the crowds. It’s also been the most popular story on equipmentworld.com this year, garnering more than 270,000 views since it ran in July. (We’ve also got video of it in action, which you can see by clicking on the above link.)
Matt Veerkamp was browsing Craigslist one day he came across a rusted old Cat crawler tractor that looked unusual. “It had some goofy looking parts that just struck me as odd,” he recalls. The sprockets and rear hitch looked different than on typical Cat machines of the late 1920s. And the side of the radiator did not signify the model number. After a 45-minute drive to take a look at the old Cat, he knew he had found something special. The serial number read, “EXP-00-V.” After some investigation, he learned that he had found the exposition model – what we might call a prototype machine today – for the 1929 Caterpillar Fifteen. And it was the only one known to exist. After a six-month restoration, he got it running like new.
Tom Benck got a call in 2019 about an antique John Deere tractor outfitted as a backhoe loader that got him excited. The call was from a field technician at West Side Tractor Sales where Benck is vice president of the family-owned Deere equipment dealership headquartered in Lisle, Illinois. The technician was helping a widow prepare her deceased husband’s antique equipment for auction when he found a 1958 John Deere Model 440 with a West Side Tractor Sales sticker on it. Turns out the backhoe had been a trade-in at West Side back in the early 1960s. Now it’s back at the dealership, in running condition and on display.
The 1940 D6 was being sold online out of Montana in 2020. It had been well taken care of. What’s more, it had a rare wooden cab. Shay Stutsman jumped at the chance to buy it. He had it sent to Wyoming for restoration by Antique Crawler Parts & Restoration. “We actually had a cabinet company in Wyoming take the old cab, and they basically took it apart piece by piece and remeasured and re-cut each piece of wood,” he says. The cab was then rebuilt one piece at a time to the exact specs of the tractor. The complete restoration of the rare D6 took a year. The finished product was so impressive that Stutsman and his fiancée decided to use the D6 in their wedding.
Lance Taylor was on a mission to find Kubota’s first excavator. The KH-10 compact excavator debuted in 1979, and finding one in 2020 was proving extremely difficult. But it was a search that Taylor, Kubota Tractor Corporation director of engineering, was determined would succeed. It had to, as he had been given the responsibility of finding and restoring 15 of Kubota’s rare first models in preparation for the company’s 50th anniversary in the United States. Eventually, he caught a break. A dealer in Pennsylvania remembered selling the excavator when it was new. His memory was still so good because of the strange circumstances surrounding the Amish farmer who originally bought it. Turned out, the farmer’s family still had it and were willing to make a deal – a very shrewd deal for the rusted old machine.