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One-Of-A-Kind Deere Sold For $170,000
In 1929, a Deere GP tractor was pulled off
the assembly line and given a rack-and-pinion
power-adjustable rear axle by research
engineers. At the time, it was a new idea,
but one that evidently had merit, since it
showed up on Deere production models about
25 years later.
Photos of the modified GP have appeared
in several books and publications, but most
collectors figured the tractor itself was long
gone. Photos always showed a dent in the
radiator screen on the front of the tractor.
Fast forward now to 2001. A Nebraska
auctioneer looking over an aging collection
of cars and industrial machinery he was
preparing to sell at an estate auction near
Davenport, Iowa, found a GP tractor in a
grove of trees, somewhat protected by some
ancient galvanized sheet metal roofing.
After noticing something different about
the tractor, the auctioneer called a friend who
collects Deere tractors to take a look. The
friend determined the old tractor was the
experimental GP. The tractor matched the
1931 photos, right down to the dent.
Besides the modified rear axle, the tractor's
steering had been changed to an over-the-top
shaft, believed to be the first attempt at this
by Deere.
No one knows how the owner, a Mr. Lieck
of Davenport, Iowa, acquired the tractor, what
he paid for it, or whether it was ever used.
At the estate auction, however, it sold for
$170,000 to Bruce and Walter Keller, of
Brillion, Wisconsin. Most people think that's
a record price for an antique tractor.
The Kellers have an extensive collection
of John Deere tractors, including a couple
other rare experimental models. Their
collection also includes several first
production machines, including the first B,
the first 3010 and the first 4010.
"It fits well with our collection," says Bruce
Keller. But after years sitting out on the
hillside in the trees, their latest acquisition
needs some work.
"The steering doesn't work, but that's
Surprisingly, the pistons weren't stuck.
"The engine was tight, but it's loose now,"
Keller says. "We haven't had it started yet.
We removed the magneto and carburetor and
are getting those redone. Once those are
ready, we're pretty sure it'll run."
Keller says that except for the steering and
paint, the tractor is in good condition,
considering how it was stored. While it will
be cleaned up and repainted, it won't require
extensive restoration. And that dent in the
radiator screen will stay. "We'll restore it as
original as can be, according to the photos,"
he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Walter
Keller, Box 146, Forest Junction, Wis. 54123
(ph 920 989-1322) or Bruce Keller, W2208
County Rd. HR, Brillion, Wis. 54110 (ph 920

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3