MINONK – There is quite a story behind a 1943 Oliver 70 Row Crop tractor which makes appearances at tractor shows throughout the area.
The tractor’s owner, William Bane, is proud of the machine which originally came from his father and uncle’s implement business in Dana that operated from 1927-1947. It was sold to a farmer by Wenona and his two sons who owned it until they passed away and then it went to a nephew who lived north of Long Point.
The Oliver sat in a shed for almost 40 years before the owner got a hold of William’s son, Ricky Bane and offered to sell it to him.
“He said he wanted to see it go back to the family,” William recalled.
Ricky then bought the tractor and gave it to his dad for Father’s Day. They took it into the shop, started working on it and basically tore everything off and took the motor completely apart before repainting the machine.
“We just basically made it original,” William explained. “We didn’t use automotive paint – we went back to the paint they were using when it was really built.”
William has shown and traveled with the Oliver for 10 years now and belongs to tractor clubs in Lacon, Pontiac and Penfield along with the Half Century of Progress Show in Rantoul.
“It’s been a good retirement hobby for Dad,” admits Ricky. “We can get him loaded up and he’ll disappear for the weekend.”
Ricky notes his family has a soft spot for pieces of history such as this. He gave the tractor to his dad under two conditions: he could never sell it and it is to be left to Ricky’s son so it stays in the family.
“It really didn’t mean anything to me except that it was Grandpa’s tractor. That was the neat part of it,” Ricky adds.
The Oliver was displayed at the Fairbury Fairgrounds over the weekend for the annual Fairbury American Legion Cruise-In.