WINCHESTER — Luke Mollema’s vintage “walk-behind” tractor turns heads when taken on parade as it has no seat. It’s a two-wheel unit that is also not so easy to turn and tricky to drive, its owner says.
The 1956 air-cooled 10-hp Bucher-brand machine also lacks a steering wheel but this is all by design. Instead the tractor has static handlebars like those on a rototiller or snowblower. The operator may selectively brake one wheel or the other to help control its direction, and either walks behind the machine or sits on the implement or trailer that the tractor tows. Mollema appeared in a recent Winchester parade with the Bucher pulling a wagon.
The Morewood resident says he bought the unit last spring from a local farmer who had acquired it from the first owner, who used it in Switzerland on an alpine farm, he says. The odd tractor features a side winch that helps pull the machine up steep inclines when plowing.
Today, Mollema uses the Bucher for yard work. In addition to a trailer, he has a rototiller, potato digger and four-wheel drive sulky he can hook up to this trusty survivor that still has its original paint and tires.
He says he’s happy to have added the Bucher to his and his dad’s collection of 60 vintage tractors.