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Who Knew Stihl Made A Tractor?
Randy Longnecker has been a Stihl dealer for 45 years, but there’s one Stihl not likely to ever leave his showroom floor. It’s a Stihl tractor, one of only 6 known to be in the U.S. and one of only 2,000 built between 1949 and 1963. It is a model 381S built in 1962.
    “When I bought it 20 years ago, it had been nearly fully restored,” says Longnecker, J & I Power Equipment. “The only thing missing was the Stihl emblem on the front end.”
    On a dealer trip to Stihl headquarters, a company engineer surprised him with a replacement emblem and a historic connection. The daughter of the original owner worked for Stihl. Her father was still alive at the time, and Longnecker discovered he still had the original owner’s manual for the tractor.
    The tractor had only left Germany a few years before Longnecker purchased it. Bill Byers and his wife Angela, from Wasilla, Alaska, purchased it during a trip to Germany in 1966. Three years later Longnecker bought it.
    “The other Stihl tractors known to be in the country are also at Stihl dealers or distributors,” says Longnecker. “When people see it, they ask what it really is. They don’t believe Stihl ever made tractors.”
The 2-stroke diesel still works fine. This past summer Longnecker loaned it to David King, owner of the King Agriculture Museum, Centralia, Wash.
    “We hadn’t run it for about 10 years, but David fired it up and got it running,” says Longnecker. “He took it to a couple of tractor shows and ran it in a parade.”
    For more photos and details of the 381S, see the March/April issue of Antique Power magazine (www.antiquepower.com). West Coast editor Candace Brown did an in-depth and well researched article on the tractor and its history.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Randy Longnecker, J & I Power Equipment, 3729 Pacific Ave. S.E.,
Olympia, Wash. 98501 (ph 360 491-2022; randyl@jnipe.com; www.jnipe.com).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #3