By Tom Collins
HORTON TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of people are expected to bid as the owner of the world’s largest Allis-Chalmers collection is selling his collection.
George Nesbitt, 74, is selling his collection of more than 300 Allis-Chalmers tractors and 4,000 parts on July 14-15 at 1766 Lochwinnoch Rd. at Horton Township in Renfrew County.
Nesbitt’s fascination with Allis-Chalmers tractors began when he was a kid. He was reading a magazine that had a form to fill out if you wanted more information on Allis-Chalmers tractors. Nesbitt filled out the form and mailed it in. The local Allis-Chalmers dealer decided to pay Nesbitt a visit and was surprised to discover he was a six-year-old boy.
Nesbitt always remembered the dealer being a nice guy. When Nesbitt started a dairy and beef farm in the 1960s, he bought his first couple of tractors from that dealer.
Nesbitt eventually quit farming after a barn fire. When burying the herd, he found high-quality stone on his property and he decided to open a quarry. He had nothing for his quarry employees to do in the winter, so he put them to work restoring Allis-Chalmers tractors so they wouldn’t be laid off.
“I was looking for tractors to keep the men busy, so I’d buy a few of them,” he said. “If a dealer went out of business, we’d try to buy all his parts.”
The Ontario Ministry of Labour eventually put a stop to the restoration as Nesbitt didn’t have the proper facilities for painting on such a large scale. Instead of spending $300,000 to $400,000 to upgrade his facilities, Nesbitt decided a couple of years ago to stop restoring tractors.
Some of the items up for auction include:
• A 1920 6-12, the oldest tractor owned by Nesbitt and the second tractor ever produced by Allis-Chalmers.
• A 1938 Allis-Chalmers Power Horse. The tractor was originally built by Eimco before Allis-Chalmers took over the patent in 1942. The machine was steered using reins and was designed to pull horse-drawn equipment. “They weren’t very good,” said Nesbitt. “I think they might have made 70 or 80 of them. There’s still half a dozen of them kicking around. In 1940, they changed it and steered with levers then instead of reins.”
• A 1984 Allis-Chalmers 4W-305, the biggest tractor the company ever made and one of their last models as the farm equipment portion of the company was sold to a German business in 1985. That company kept producing several Allis-Chalmers tractors before it was sold in 1990.
• A 1944 Allis-Chalmers M7 Troop Retriever, basically one of the first snowmobiles ever made.
Nesbitt hasn’t put a dollar figure on how much money he hopes to get through the auction.
“Auction sales are funny,” he said. “You get two people that want something, it’ll surprise you. I’d like to have enough to buy poutine when we’re all finished. At an auction, you never know.”