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Dumonts Own Complete Collection Of Colorful Patio Tractors
Lyle Dumont had collected many old tractors and toy tractors when he saw his first set of Patio Tractors - colorful garden tractors made by John Deere from 1969-71. The dogwood white tractor with colorful seats and hoods - sunset orange, April yellow, spruce blue and patio red - were intended to attract female customers. Though they weren't a marketing success then, they're very popular now with collectors. Dumont is one of a handful of people who owns a complete collection of 16, four colors in all four horsepower sizes (110, 112, 120 and 140).
  Dumont was first attracted to the patio tractors when he saw a Nebraska woman's collection at an antique show. She had restored them herself, and he asked her to contact him if she found more. After she helped Dumont buy his first one, he made it a mission to find the rest, by following up leads with private collectors in eight states.
  "Within a couple of years I had them all," Dumont says. "I have a body shop and had a guy working for me interested in garden tractors also. We started restoring them."
  Dumont found many patio tractors hidden under paint, by checking the serial numbers and spotting places where the green paint had worn. He explains that dealers painted over the white tractors when they couldn't sell them. They used the seats and hoods from the yellow patio tractors, which makes that color the most difficult to find. Collectors recognize the patio seats by their different edging and textured seat back. Prices for the seats and hoods range anywhere from $500 to $2,000 on eBay, Dumont says.
  His collection is unique because all the tractors are restored. They're on permanent display, along with other garden, toy and antique tractors, at the Dumont Museum, a private, non-profit 24,000 sq. ft. museum he and his wife, Helen, opened in 1996. The museum features a variety of restored tractors, including "the largest collection of restored Oliver tractors." It also contains everything from horse-drawn equipment and buggies and old gas engines to NASCAR toys, Roy Rogers' memorabilia and Lionel trains.
  Dumont invites everyone to come to the museum, which is open May through October on weekends and by appointment. Check out the website for times, fees and location.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lyle and Helen Dumont, 20545 244th St., Sigourney, Iowa 52591 (ph 641 622-2592 or 641 622-9937; oliver@lisco.com; www. dumontmuseum.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2