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“Tractorcycle” Inspires Imaginative Tales
Larry Medwig’s Tractorcycle is rusty, covered with oddities such as an IH fire extinguisher, vintage tractor seat, and iron water pipe handlebars.

    “I wanted it to look like something International Harvester prototyped 50 or 60 years ago that was found in a barn,” explains the Ohio motorcycle restorer. “It’s the opposite of what I do when painting expensive vintage motorcycles.”

    Having grown up with IH tractors, he used a Farmall Cub tractor hood. An IH throttle-governed engine that once ran a cement mixer now powers the bike with a Crosley automobile transmission. The wheels came from a David Bradley tractor and the hood ornament is a turtle from a Snapper lawnmower. Medwig cut out the fenders from an antique car’s tire covers.

    Many of the details were gifts from friends – lights found in a barn and the cast iron tractor seat shaped similar to a vintage motorcycle seat, for example.

    “There’s no suspension; it’s a rough ride,” Medwig admits. “It’s not street legal, but I take it to antique motorcycle meets and tractor shows. We have a blast with it.”

    One of his favorite things to do at events is park it, then walk away to get something to eat. When he returns, there’s usually a crowd around it inspecting the details. And on several occasions one person in the group is bragging about how he helped build it –making up crazy details that never happened. Medwig responds by getting on the bike, starting up the relatively quiet engine, and speeding off (a little faster than a golf cart) for a ride around the grounds.

    Motorcycle enthusiasts often ask when he plans to restore it. While he tweaks the design occasionally when he finds the perfect rusted accessories, he has no intention of making it look shiny and new.

    Another benefit of having an “antique” bike is that during the winter he doesn’t have any problem finding a place to park it. This winter it is parked inside, next to the front window of Eastside Relics, a Willoughby, Ohio, antique store.

    It’s likely attracting customers curious about when the “vintage bike” was made and where it was found.

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry Medwig, 12118 Concord Hambden Rd., Painesville, Ohio 44077 (ph 440 840-0819; themedwigs@aol.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1