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He Restores Deere Garden Tractors
Restoring older lawn and garden tractors (LGT) is catching on, and Mike Taylor is carving out a niche with John Deere versions. So far he has specialized in mostly the 100 series, but has also worked on others.
"A guy I worked with mentioned the old 110 with its rounded fenders, and I started looking for one," recalls Taylor. "I found a 1965 model five years ago and then just kept picking them up."
He has bought and sold around 40 tractors and has about 20 in his collection now. He has restored a number of them, including several model 112's, as well as mower decks and other attachments. Others have been sold as is or for parts. One owner of a 318 gave Taylor a second 318 in exchange for restoring the first.
"Rebuilding motors and transmissions is the most difficult part of a restoration," acknowledges Taylor, who is a machinist by trade. "A total restoration takes so much time and money that it's hard to get it back."
A full restoration includes sandblasting, priming and painting every part from the frame up. The motor is overhauled and new seals put on the transmission. Of course, any broken or damaged parts are replaced. Starter, battery, tires and wiring harness are replaced as well as decals.
Taylor says prices vary, and he has paid from $50 to $280 for the round fendered models he specializes in. Fully restored models can sell for $1,500 to $2,000 depending on options and rarity of the tractors.
"The big payoff for me is to take something old and make it look new again," says Taylor. "Plus, my wife Lou Ann and I and our 13-year old son Caleb enjoy driving them in parades and taking them to tractor shows."
Taylor says lawn and garden tractor collecting and restoration is growing in popularity. A new magazine for John Deere collectors called LGT News is being published (www.hapcoparts.com; ph 812 985-7640) and, Taylor says, claims more than 1,000 subscribers. He also recommends a website: www.weekendfreedommachines.com. He says it offers lots of information and forums for collectors of John Deere LGTs.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert (Mike) Taylor, 15452 Lamineck Rd., Parkerville, Ill. 62918 (ph 618 988-1192; deereboy110@intergate.com).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4