Rush for vintage tractors

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Late dairy farmer Tony Pailthorpe pictured with his 1936 Farmall F30 Duckbill tractor.
Camera IconLate dairy farmer Tony Pailthorpe pictured with his 1936 Farmall F30 Duckbill tractor. Credit: Christina Denton

A WA vintage tractor and machinery collection is attracting overseas interest, particularly from the United States, with items pegged to reach a new Australian auction record price.

The late Tony Pailthorpe’s vintage collection will be auctioned this Saturday at Aberbecham Farm in Wokalup, with dozens of rare items on offer.

It comes five years after a national record price of $102,000 was set for a 1925 Benz tractor, made at the late Norm Bates’ 2013 sale in Bencubbin.

Keen collectors of Navistar International machinery, formerly International Harvester Company, have made strong inquiries about Mr Pailthorpe’s vintage collection.

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The retired dairy farmer, who died in 2013, was a keen IHC restorer and was known to have 150 models — possibly the largest collection in the southern hemisphere.

He spent the past 23 years of his life collecting vintage tractors and had the largest collection of International Harvester tractors in Australia.

Several rare tractors have been listed for auction this weekend, including a Milwaukee-made 1912 IHC Titan Type D with a single-cylinder engine. It was a significant year for the Wisconsin-based company, which established the former International Harvester Australia organisation to bypass Australia’s federal tariff protection.

It allowed the assembly of equipment in that foreign country, including Titan tractors.

Other rare tractors up for auction include a Geelong-built International AW6 Standard (1953-57), Hart Parr 16-30 (1924-26), 1917 IHC Titan 15-30, McCormich 0-14 and a Farmall Widefront F12. Mr Pailthorpe was a meticulous restorer and spent countless hours tracking down correct parts in the US.

His family said it was a “labour of love” that would now be passed on to other vintage machinery and tractor enthusiasts.

Other interesting items on the list include a 1910 IHC high-wheeler buggy, a 1920s IHC truck and fuel bowsers and oil cans.

Gates open at 8am and auction starts at 10am with auctioneer Tiny Holly calling the bids.

To find out more, phone Mr Holly on 0422 272 727.

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