Collector shows grandfather's original 18-32
Collecting Cases has been a lifelong hobby for Bruce Lenz of rural Manson. Next month, that hobby will bring Lenz to the national Case expo which will be held at the annual Albert City Threshermen and Collectors show in Albert City.
The International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation will hold its 18th Annual Exposition in concert with the Threshermen's Show Aug. 13-15.
Lenz has been showing a 1913 Case Model 20-40 40-horsepower gas and oil tractor at the show since 1999. Lenz bought the two-cylinder tractor in an estate auction in Davis City, NE, in 1993. It took Lenz five years and $30,000 to restore the tractor. He shudders to think of the hours he and his neighbors put into the restoration.
Case built 4,465 20-40 tractors between 1912 and 1919. In 1913, the same year Lenz's 20-40 was manufactured, the model won two gold medals at the Winnipeg Tractor Trials, with one award given for fuel economy.
Equipped with a two-speed transmission, if someone wanted to get fancy there was an optional operator's cab available at the grand price of $30.
Lenz hopes to have two other Cases at the show this year, a 1925-vintage Model 1832 and a 1917 12-25.
Lenz bought the 12-25 two years ago from the original owner south of Cedar Rapids. The 12-25 has a two-cylinder opposed engine. "I have got it running," Lenz said.
A smaller unit than the 20-40, Case built nearly 4,000 of the models. The 12-25 had a two-cylinder engine with opposed cylinders, like the 20-40.
Lenz's grandfather bought the 18-32 new. The cross-motor four-cylinder engine has a water injection system and, like Lenz's other Cases, runs on gas or kerosene.
"When you get done with it, you have more in than what it's worth," Lenz said of collecting. "It's only nice if you can buy the thing and have the value go up. It helps if you can do a lot of it yourself."
Repairs to antique tractors can be challenging, Lenz said. "You don't buy parts for these things. You make them."
Despite the cost and the time involved, Lenz, who farms near Manson, thinks collecting antique tractors is all worth it. "It's a nice hobby for a farmer."
As a Case collector, Lenz is particularly pleased to see the annual show come to Albert City.
"I think it's going to be quite an asset to the show," Lenz said. "I think it could really be quite a deal."