Select Oliver pedal tractors
Beauprez’s collection with an end game
Mike Beauprez’s affiliation with Oliver tractors goes back well over a half century. The Beauprez family farm in Boulder County, Colorado was well-stocked with Olivers. Beauprez’s dad, Joe, purchased his first Oliver tractor in 1941, a Model 70 row crop. With urbanization engulfing the farm, their Boulder Valley Holstein herd at Lafayette, Colo., was dispersed in 1990. The farm equipment was sold shortly thereafter.
Mike had a yearning to stay connected to farming by restoring antique Oliver tractors. “I always liked working around tractors and field equipment. After our farm was sold, I needed a hobby. With the help of family members, we began restoring antique tractors. The first tractor was an Oliver 70 standard. Over several years, we restored a total of 18 tractors. There were 14 Olivers among them,” Mike said.
Each tractor was restored to perfection. Beauprez’s attention to detail resulted in tractors better than new. The initial cost of the tractor and the restoration expenses began to mount. And their storage area was limited. With these constraints, pedal tractors caught Mike’s attention. “Pedal tractors were a lot more affordable and easier to store than the original big ones. And it was a way to keep my hobby going,” he said.
PEDAL TRACTOR PARADE
Mike’s parade of pedal tractors is extensive in quantity and quality. While Olivers dominate the collection, additional brands are included. A total of 57 pedal tractors are represented by these brands:
41–Olivers ▪ 6–White ▪ 4–Cockshutt
3–International ▪ 2–Minneapolis-Moline ▪ 1-Farmall
Mike and his son, Shawn, of Longmont, Colo., expertly restored 19 of the tractors. There are numerous tractors among the mix that are customized or scratch-built by these reputable modelers: Gene Gregory, Tom Magnuson, Rodney Cover and Shawn Beauprez. Their skilled craftsmanship add extensive value to this collection.
“Soon after I started collecting commercially made pedal tractors, I learned about the custom models. From then on, I seldom bought a new original. If a tractor was an old original, my son, Shawn, and I restored it. By chance, I bought a rare casting that Shawn will explain,” Mike said.
MYSTERY PEDAL TRACTOR
Mike owns a casting that is believed to be one-of-a-kind Oliver Model 88 open grill prototype. Shawn Beauprez provided details about this rare gem.
“We were looking for a small open grill Model 88 and were joined by friends in that pursuit. A friend in Iowa located one so we bought it. Without close examination, it went into dad’s shed for later restoration.
Sometime later it came out of storage along with a closed grill variation of the small Model 88 to begin restoration. When the two set side-by-side, I noted differences in the body casting. To be sure, I compared it to another open grill Model 88 to confirm the differences. The casting variations are listed:
♦ There are six slots in the grill and six louvers in the engine covering. A regular Model 88 has seven in each of these areas, like the real tractor. Perhaps it was rejected for these differences.
♦ The hood sits flatter, therefore less slope than the regular Model 88.
♦ The console area where the steering shaft goes through is narrower than the regular Model 88.
♦ The tub or bottom of the casting drops down in front of the pedal crank. The tub on a regular Model 88 drops down just behind the front steering post.
♦ The grill on this casting is straight up and down. The grill on the regular Model 88 angles back as it goes down.
♦ This casting is slightly longer than the regular Model 88.
The pedal tractor casting shares similar characteristics that were eventually used for the regular Model 88. The seat and its support mount are the same. The cast-in latches for the engine are identical. In addition, the cast-in brake covers and the rear axle housings were made the same.
This pedal tractor appears to have its original paint but there were never any decals applied. These numerous points suggest the casting was made as a possible prototype but never went into commercial production by Eska.
Sometime during its previous ownership, it received new parts. They include John Deere wheels. The crank and rear axle had been replaced with newer styles. The holes for both the crank and rear axle were drilled out to receive new parts. And the rear axle housings were drilled out and bolted to the body casting. This may have been done if the skip tooth chain was worn or lost and the owner used what was available.
We have shown pictures of the casting to several people familiar with Oliver pedal tractors. No one has offered clues about the casting other than a possible prototype. We are not aware that a duplicate of this casting exists,” Shawn concluded.
MINI OLIVER 99
A favorite among Mike’s restored antique tractors was the 1951 Oliver Model 99 standard. “I always enjoyed operating that tractor. It was big, dependable and powerful for its time. I noticed custom miniature tractors at different shows. I thought it would be nice to have a scale model of the old Model 99 that ran. A small version would be easy to store and fun to operate,” Mike said.
Mike started brainstorming the idea of a scaled-down Model 99 with Shawn and his friend, Jeff Wagner. Both Shawn and Jeff had valuable experience restoring antique tractors. However, building a miniature tractor was a new challenge, but not a deterrent.
Starting from a retired Cub Cadet Model 1250 lawn mower, the ambitious team set to work. After about 500 exhaustive hours the diamond in the rough was converted into a finely tuned scale model tractor. And it was fully operational. “The tractor created a lot of interest when we displayed it at events. It was even tested against full size tractors on a Tilt-O-Meter at our local antique farm machinery show one year,” Mike said.
THE END GAME
Mike and Donna Beauprez’s daughter and her family had relocated to Pequot Lakes, Minn. The couple wanted to be close to their granddaughters as they grew up. As a result, Mike and Donna built a home across the lake from their daughter’s family in 2014. When the lake was accessible, they could scoot across by boat to visit. Truth be known, Mike cherished the opportunity to maintain the aquatic life population in check by fishing.
When they relocated from Colorado to Minnesota, all but one of the antique tractors had been sold. The remaining tractor was a 1952 Oliver Model 77 row crop. The Model 77 was an early tractor on the Beauprez farm. That tractor along with the Mini 99 and the pedal tractors were hauled north to the Beauprez’s new residence.
Mike has decided to part with his collection. “I’ve liked collecting through the years. It’s time for other collectors to enjoy them. The Mini 99 has been sold. The pedal tractors and the prototype casting will be sold by Girard Auctions of Wakonda, S.D., on Oct. 22. We wish to thank Toy Farmer for publishing stories about our collections. We’re also grateful for the nice friends we’ve made through the hobby,” Mike said.
Hendricks was a resident of Colorado for 32 years. He now resides in Mansfield, Ohio, his home state. Hendricks covers a vast array of subjects relating to agriculture. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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