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1/4-Scale Oliver Tractor Pulls 100-Year-Old Cultivator
"Everything on it is made from stuff I had laying around, but it really turned out cute," says Marlin Swanson, Amery, Wis., who turned a Jacobson 12 hp garden tractor into a 1/4-scale Oliver 1655 tractor.
  At shows he uses the tractor to pull a 6-ft. wide, 100-year-old horse-drawn cultivator that rides on dual wheels. It's a conversation piece in itself.
  "People think I did a lot of fancy work and tell me I must have spent an awful lot of time making the tractor and cultivator, but I didn't," says Swanson, a retired cabinet maker."
  The Jacobson tractor - originally orange and white - was painted Oliver green with white wheel rims. The original seat was replaced by a 36-in. wide one that's big enough for two. The tractor has dual lugged tires on back and lugged single tires on front, with a big floorboard on each side.
  "My wife loves riding with me at tractor shows. We get a lot of attention," says Swanson.
  In the 1960's, the Jacobson company made garden tractors for Ford, Minneapolis Moline, Cockshutt, and Oliver. "However, the company never made many Olivers so they've become quite valuable," he says. "For example, an Oliver garden tractor in unrestored condition recently sold for $4,700. I already had the Jacobson, which I had bought new in 1966."
  He removed the original grill and made his own maple wood grill, adding several coats of paint. The weights on front are just like the real weights and are made from pine and red oak.  
  He used the apron slats off a manure spreader to make the seat frame, which has 8-in. wings on each side. A professional upholsterer made the seat cushions black and white, just like on a real Oliver. The seat's base was made out of parts from an old Hoover washing machine.
  He removed the 30 by 10-in. floorboard from a Cockshutt 30 tractor and cut it in half, then mounted one half on each side of the Jacobson. The floorboard is covered with diamond plate tread.
  He made a chrome muffler on top that's just a dummy. It was made from a length of 1-in. dia. chrome pipe with 2-in. dia. thin wall tubing around it. "Sometimes people will gingerly touch the muffler, then ask how the tractor can run so cool without burning any paint off the hood," says Swanson. He made his own air cleaner using a short length of pipe with a PVC cap (off a milk pipeline) on top.
  The tractor's tires were bought new at Farm and Fleet. The rear tires were designed for a small manure spreader; the front ones for a walk-behind rototiller. The front rims are off an old push cart.
  The tractor has a pair of tail lights and two headlights inside the grill, which formerly served as the dome lights off a car. "The 1655 was the first Oliver tractor with headlights located inside the grille," notes Swanson.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marlin Swanson, 1221 95th Ave., Amery, Wis. 54001 (ph 715 268-8464).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #1