Vintage International auction is Red Letter Day

By: Andrew Hobbs

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Labour of love concludes as buyers flock to vintage International Tractor auction in country Victoria.

Vintage International auction is Red Letter Day
The 1953 McCormick International DLD2 went up for auction earlier this month.

 

Dedicated collectors swarmed to Gellibrand, Victoria, in early November as 36 McCormick Deering, Farmall and International brand tractors went under the hammer.

Collected by Eric Larson, the tractors were produced between 1931 and 1964 and most were in working order – the result of almost 20 years of collecting following Larson’s retirement from dairy farming.

The lots included a 1953 McCormick International Model DLD2 tractor – one of only 100 prototypes built and believed to be the only one in Australia, a 1941 International T6 Bulldozer supplied to the ordinance department of the US Army and a 1942 McCormick Deering W4 tractor, restored to its original steel wheels.

 

This 1942 McCormick Deering W4 tractor was restored to the original steel wheels.

 

Farms & Farm Machinery was unable to confirm the final sale price on all items, but understands most sold for four-figure sums, though the DLD2 did better.

Speaking after the event, auctioneer Alan Whelan told Farms & Farm Machinery that despite rainy weather on the day, the vendor and his family were happy with the results of the auction.

"The vendor told me where he thought the tractors were going to be sitting [price-wise] on the day, and he probably wasn’t far wrong for where they were," he says.

"There were definitely dedicated collectors, I had plenty of phonecalls from all over Australia – and everyone who turned up was there to buy the tractor they wanted."

 

This 1948 McCormick Farmall Super C tractor was typical of the period's tricycle models.

 

For Keith Cowland, spokesman for the International Harvester Club of Australia, says demand at vintage auctions has been lower in recent years – due in part to growing enthusiasm for restoration of cars, utes and trucks.

"Tractors are lagging a little bit compared to what they would have been say five years ago and the prices are probably reflecting that as well," he says.

Nonetheless, he says that tractors are a good starting point for people wanting to get into vehicle restoration, adding that parts can often be acquired from sellers in Australia, the UK and the United States.

One helpful feature is that these vehicles simply don’t have some of the features that might be an obstacle to the restorer.

"Restoration on a tractor is pretty straightforward – you don’t have engine covers like the new tractors do, though you do have a bonnet," he says.

"It costs a lot of money to restore a tractor, but it costs 3-4 times more to restore a car and probably double that again to do a truck."

 

This 1941 International T6 bulldozer was supplied to the Ordinance Department of the US Army

 

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