GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO — An extensive collection of meticulously restored antique tractors currently up for auction online includes dozens of early model crawlers built by Caterpillar Inc. and its predecessor, with one specimen from a line with total production that never reached triple digits.
The tractors were collected by Ted Billups, and together span 93 years of development by iconic manufacturers such as Caterpillar, its predecessor Holt, John Deere, Allis-Chalmers and others.
The online-only auction began Nov. 1 at GoBidToday.com and concludes on the afternoon of Nov. 29.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to offer these machines at auction," said auctioneer Kyle Musick. "They have been fully and expertly restored by Ted Billups himself, and now will be available to the public."
Billups worked for an astonishing 75 years at his local John Deere dealership, Brown Motors, which later became Bell Equipment, according to the auction house. He developed extensive mechanical skill and experience that helped him expertly restore the antique machines.
Among Billups' affiliations was a membership in the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owner's Club, Chapter 14. Auction materials also noted Billups and his wife, Dolores, were life members of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Lewis & Clark Antique Power Club, Branch 54, and he was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 2010.
His collection included rare examples, such as a Caterpillar 5-ton Holt World War I artillery tractor and a Buckeye Trundaar, believed to be one of only three such tractors left in existence.
The most rare Caterpillar tractor in the collection appears to be a Caterpillar R3, of which only 59 were ever manufactured, according to the auction house.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.