They have 150 tractors (that run)!

in OPINION/RURAL ROOTS by
By Christalee Froese

They have over 200 antique tractors, 150 of which are in running order.

Father-son team Scott and Kevin Stanley of Carievale, Sask. have made it their personal mission to rescue as many tractors as possible from sloughs and scrap heaps in order to breathe life back into each piece of agricultural history.

The pair has spent thousands and thousands of hours in this mission, undertaking every step in the restoration process themselves. This includes everything from rebuilding seized motors, machining parts, hammering out body dents, painting each disassembled tractor piece and putting it all back together again.

“It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle,” said Scott, explaining that it can take over 100 hours alone just to spray paint the parts of a tractor and reassemble them.

The Stanleys prefer to find their tractor projects abandoned in a farmyard, or dumped in a slough, rather than buying them at auction or from antique dealers. The salvaged tractors not only come at a less expensive price, but they also provide a greater challenge.

“The best part is getting them running because we just like to see them come back to life rather than have them sit there and deteriorate or go for scrap,” said Scott, whose full-time job is in the oil field, and part-time job is operating a small grain farm near Carievale, Sask.

Kevin, who works as an RM employee, said he is passionate about the restoration process as well, but tracking down neglected tractors, whether via the Internet or by contacting farmers directly, is his favourite element of the process.

“I like finding them, and buying them—the hunt part,” said Kevin, explaining that once he and his dad have secured a tractor, they immediately bring it to their heated shop and try out the engine.

Some of the antiques miraculously start, but most need a complete engine rebuild. With a graveyard of 50 or so tractors for parts, the Stanleys begin the painstaking work of engine reassembly. They will sometimes order a part from a dealer, but they say this is rare as most of the elements they require are out of production.

While the self-taught mechanics conservatively estimate the value of their tractor collection to be about $250,000, both Scott and son Kevin said they’ll never find out the actual value because they’ll never sell a tractor.

“We definitely don’t do it for the money,” laughs Scott, explaining that for him the fun is finding tractors, especially those that have been dumped and forgotten about.

Scott’s partner Sherry agrees, saying that almost all of their country drives turn into tractor hunts.

“I always say that he can smell tractors,” chuckles Sherry.

“There’s nothing like an old tractor—the older it is, the better it is,” says Scott. “If you take one from the ‘50s or 60’s and start it in another 60 years, it’ll still be running, but if it was built in 2010, you’ll have a hard time getting it because of all of the electronics nowadays.”

As long as there are tractors in sloughs, the Stanleys will continue refurbishing them, and adding them to their incredible collection.

For more information, or to book an appointment to see the Stanley tractor collection, call Scott at 306-928-4422 or visit the Stanley Antique Tractors Facebook page.

Email comments to Lcfroese@sasktel.net and follow Christalee Froese’s 21days2joy Blog at 21days2joy.wordpress.com.

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