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You always learn something at an antique tractor show

TAGS: Tractors
B-1 garden tractor
IT REALLY DOES EXIST! If you’ve seen Santa Claus and the M&M candy characters in the commercial, that makes sense — there really was an Allis-Chalmers B-1 garden tractor. I always thought the B-10 was the first, until I saw a B-1 in Bill Hedrick’s barn lot.
Commentary: I thought my dad bought the first model of garden tractor Allis-Chalmers ever built. Turns out, he didn’t!

Bill Hedrick and family drove all 84 tractors in their antique tractor collection out of the barn and parked them in the barn lot. Neighbors showed up in droves, some with tractors of their own, to view the collection and participate in the annual one-day display on a Saturday in June. The Hedricks live near Battleground, Ind.

I had heard about the show from Pete Illingworth, a Purdue University Throckmorton Ag Center employee who loves to visit the Hedrick display. After the Delphi FFA Tractor Drive, I drove over to see it for myself. I walked up and down the rows in awe.

I stopped near the back of the Hedrick collection at a garden tractor. The decal said it was an Allis-Chalmers B-1. But I always thought the first model was the B-10. My dad bought a B-10 to use around the dairy farm. It did more work than some much bigger utility tractors do today.

I stood there for the longest time, wondering if this was a custom model, like the Farmall M-60 Modified with a decal that said so, which was really a Farmall M with a 560 engine.

According to tractordata.com, the B-1 is for real. It was the first garden tractor that carried the Allis-Chalmers name. On simpletractors.com, I even found a scan of a front cover of an original literature brochure for the B-1. It says it was for “suburb and farm.”

According to tractordata.com, the B-1 appeared in 1961 and was made into 1963. Then the B-10, which I always thought was the first model, appeared. It was produced from 1963 through 1968. The B-1 featured a 7.25-hp Briggs & Stratton engine. The B-10 had a 9-hp Briggs & Stratton engine. That 9-hp motor on Dad’s B-10 moved a wagonload of 80 bales of hay, pulled carts of silage and, yes, mowed grass.

So, yes, Virginia (my mom), there was a B-1! Thanks for helping me figure that out, Bill!

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