1983 - Volume #7, Issue #1, Page #36[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Classsic Collection Of John Deere Tractors
What makes the Bellin collection of well over 200 tractors remarkable is that they not only have at least one of every model that Deere ever made, but that most of the tractors have been restored to mint operating condition by Mike.
"We have tractors that even Deere & Co. doesn't have at their museum in Moline," says Lloyd, a contractor who lives on a farm near Isanti, Minn., with his wife Annette, who is also an avid tractor collector. "Deere officials would like to trade for tractors in our collection to fill in gaps in their own collection but they don't have anything I need."
By contacting long-time collectors and doing extensive research, the Bellins have developed a methodical approach to tractor collecting, retrieving working or junked tractors from coast to coast. Lloyd says most farmers, and even many collectors, don't realize how many different 2-cyl. tractors Deere built until they went out of production in 1960.
"Some special tractors were manufactured in lots as small as 26 or 27 tractors," he points out, "and there may be only 4 or 5 known to be in existence. Since most of the short-run tractors were designed for specialty crops in specific areas of the country, that's where you have to go to find them."
Several years ago, Lloyd and Annette took a vacation to Maine to look for a model "P". Just 203 "P's" were built, in the 1930's, and all were shipped to Maine potato farmers. After searching through junkyards and farmyards up and down the state, they finally located one buried in tall weeds at the rear of a junkyard. It'sthe 16th one known to be in existence and today rests in the spotless pole barns built to house the Bellins' classic collection of Deere tractors.
The story of the "P" has been repeated again and again throughout the country, the Bellins say, and they never go anywhere without a trailer or pickup truck to haul home their "discoveries".
"Many collectors try to get as many tractors as they can. Our initial aim was to put together as complete and as well-kept a collection as possible. Our next challenge will be to find tractors with the lowest serial numbers from each production model," says Lloyd.
Although the Bellins have specialized in 2-cylinder tractors and have many rare ones, they have at least three unique exceptions. The first two are Waterloo Boys from 1915 and 1918, which preceeded Deere's own tractors, and the third is one of Deere's first 4-wheel drive tractors ù the 8010 ù of which only 100 were made in 1959.
"The 8010 was ahead of its time," says Lloyd. "Deere recalled the entire production run in 1960 and reintroduced them as the 8020. At $28,000, they were too expensive and never caught on. Deere didn't make another 4-wheel drive until 1970."
Mike spends 60 to 100 hours restoring each collected tractor during the winter months. He uses all original parts, many of which are still available from Deere. He sandblasts and repaints the tractors and applies original-style company decals.
Lloyd is hesitant to discuss values for tractors collected but notes that many of the rare models are worth thousands of dollars, restored or not.
To discuss collecting, or to make an appointment for a tour of the Bellin collection, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lloyd Bellin, Rt. 2, Isanti, Minn. 55040 (ph 612 444-5625)
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