2000 - Volume #24, Issue #6, Page #23
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"Believe It Or Not" Tractor Collection

This group of 10 Wheel Horse tractors, put together by Ohio resident Charlie Melton, is one of the most unusual tractor collections we've ever seen. Every one of the tractors has received a radical "makeover".
  "I like to recycle things and enjoy the challenge of making something different without spending a lot of money," says Melton. "I buy Wheel Horse tractors in junked-out condition so I get them cheap. I put new engines in them and usually new tires, too, and paint them with the original Wheel Horse red and white colors. All the tractors in my collection were originally built in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The manufacturer kept the same grille for all those years so all my tractors have a common look."
  Melton credits David Cross of Bainbridge, Ohio, for supplying him with Wheel Horses.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charlie Melton, 6941 Eyman Rd., Washington Court House, Ohio 43160. Thanks to photographer Gail Streitenberger for supplying most of the photos.
Tractor Airplane. Melton mounted a kit plane on back of a 1970 Wheel Horse equipped with dual rear wheels. The plane, which has a 21-ft. wingspan, still has its original 36 hp Volkswagen gas engine and is decorated with French Maltese crosses on back. Melton grabs the prop and turns it to start the engine. "It's made a new aviator out of me. I can ride in the cockpit and drive it all around," says Melton. "I bought the plane used. It has actually been flown and still has the original altimeter and all the gauges."
Antique Steel Wheeler. This 1970 Wheel Horse is equipped with 6-spoked steel wheels and used to pull a steel-wheeled, 3-bottom, horse-drawn cultivator plow. The front wheels are off an old horse-drawn implement while the rear wheels are handmade. The tread for the rear wheels was made by cutting apart the flywheel off an old threshing machine. Power is supplied by an 8 hp Briggs & Stratton gas engine.
6-WD 2 Plus 2. This 6-WD model is equipped with two 1968 Wheel Horse rear ends, two 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engines, and two seats, one facing backward. The rear axle is belt-driven off the second Wheel Horse. The tractor has no steering axles. Instead, the lead front axle steers via chains connected to the steering wheel. "The rear axle is solid and swings around like dual tandems do," says Melton. "I push the clutch pedal down to actuate a cable which releases a drive mechanism on the front axle. I get off the tractor to put the front Wheel Horse in gear, then go back to the seat and let the clutch out to put the second Wheel Horse in gear."
Half Track. This 1966 Wheel Horse is equipped with 8-in. wide, 24-in. long "half tracks" and twin steering axles. The track was made by cutting up tractor tires. "This tractor has a lot of flotation and will go almost anywhere in the snow. It also does nice wheelies," says Melton.
Twin Engine, Twin Auger Drive. "Everyone wants to see me drive this one," says Melton. At first glance you would think this tractor would go sideways, because it's equipped with an auger on each side instead of wheels. However, one auger turns clockwise and the other one counterclockwise to cancel each other out, moving the tractor straight ahead. The augers were made by cutting apart water pressure tanks and then welding on 1-in. high steel spirals. Each auger is driven by a gearbox one off an Oliver 2-row pull-type corn picker and the other off a grain auger. Steel cones on front of the augers help the tractor climb over sidewalks and tree roots, etc. A twin-auger trailer, made out of a charcoal grille, follows behind.
Chain-Driven 4-WD. This tractor works much like a skid steer loader, says Melton. It's equipped with four 14-in. high "donut" car spare tires that are connected by tire chains, allowing the rear axle to drive the front axle. Power is provided by an old Wisconsin gas engine. There's no steering wheel. Instead, two levers are used to steer, much like a bull dozer. The tractor has a bucket on front made out of a 30-gal. oil drum.
Reversed Tractor With Forklift. This "turned around" 1971 Wheel Horse is equipped with

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #6