Automotive

Tractor Heaven: 240 acre private park showcases vintage engines, tractors and the fine art of digging a really big hole

Tractor Heaven: 240 acre priva...
This exotic looking machine is a McCormick Orchard Tractor. Extra slim with exotic looking bodywork designed to travel thru orchard isles, orchard tractors are prized by collectors
This exotic looking machine is a McCormick Orchard Tractor. Extra slim with exotic looking bodywork designed to travel thru orchard isles, orchard tractors are prized by collectors
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John Deere Heaven: This huge private collection of beautifully restored John Deere tractors belongs to Good Ol' Boys Antique Tractors and Farm Implements in West Palm Beach, FL.
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John Deere Heaven: This huge private collection of beautifully restored John Deere tractors belongs to Good Ol' Boys Antique Tractors and Farm Implements in West Palm Beach, FL.
This exotic looking machine is a McCormick Orchard Tractor. Extra slim with exotic looking bodywork designed to travel thru orchard isles, orchard tractors are prized by collectors
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This exotic looking machine is a McCormick Orchard Tractor. Extra slim with exotic looking bodywork designed to travel thru orchard isles, orchard tractors are prized by collectors
1964 Oliver 770 Competition Tractor Built by Heartland Agricultural Services in Tamaroa, IL
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1964 Oliver 770 Competition Tractor Built by Heartland Agricultural Services in Tamaroa, IL
1964 Oliver Competition Tractor. The green and red metal plates are weights used to counterweight the pulling load
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1964 Oliver Competition Tractor. The green and red metal plates are weights used to counterweight the pulling load
Antique Toys For Big Boys And Girls: A nice selection of 1950's and 60's toys -that house trailer on the top shelf will set you back $175
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Antique Toys For Big Boys And Girls: A nice selection of 1950's and 60's toys -that house trailer on the top shelf will set you back $175
The vendor area at the Florida Flywheelers event takes up a good part of the 240 acre site, and you never know what you will find. This Marx toy truck is from the 1950's.
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The vendor area at the Florida Flywheelers event takes up a good part of the 240 acre site, and you never know what you will find. This Marx toy truck is from the 1950's.
This 1961 Cushman Golfster is the mac daddy of vintage golf carts
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This 1961 Cushman Golfster is the mac daddy of vintage golf carts
Fun swap meet treasures like this huge jet model airplane are everywhere. Its wings detach and are on the ground next to it. Would look pretty dandy hanging from a shop ceiling - yours for $800.
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Fun swap meet treasures like this huge jet model airplane are everywhere. Its wings detach and are on the ground next to it. Would look pretty dandy hanging from a shop ceiling - yours for $800.
Hit-and-miss engines: This United engine, noted for its distinctive loud pop on the "hit" stroke, was built from the late 1800's until about 1940
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Hit-and-miss engines: This United engine, noted for its distinctive loud pop on the "hit" stroke, was built from the late 1800's until about 1940
This 1953 Lepel Sea Scooter Water Craft was converted to land use by owner Jeff Sullivan (pictured)
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This 1953 Lepel Sea Scooter Water Craft was converted to land use by owner Jeff Sullivan (pictured)
Really loud and faster than you would expect: The top tractor pull classes run on exotic fuels and sound more like drag cars than farming tools
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Really loud and faster than you would expect: The top tractor pull classes run on exotic fuels and sound more like drag cars than farming tools
This 1948 Farmall Cub was being driven around as transportation by its owner. The car in the background is a 1962 King Midget. It's owner is proud to tell you he has driven it in 48 states, plus Canada and Mexico, including over the Continental Divide in Colorado and Montana
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This 1948 Farmall Cub was being driven around as transportation by its owner. The car in the background is a 1962 King Midget. It's owner is proud to tell you he has driven it in 48 states, plus Canada and Mexico, including over the Continental Divide in Colorado and Montana
Big boys playground: During the weekend a number of vintage cranes, bulldozers and backhoes move dirt for the pure spectacle (and joy) of it.
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Big boys playground: During the weekend a number of vintage cranes, bulldozers and backhoes move dirt for the pure spectacle (and joy) of it.
1950's Spa enclosure, now motorized by owner Jeff Sullivan who brought it to the meet from Michigan. It looked hilarious scooting along through the crowd.
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1950's Spa enclosure, now motorized by owner Jeff Sullivan who brought it to the meet from Michigan. It looked hilarious scooting along through the crowd.
With enough batteries, the moving spa might just cover all 240 acres
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With enough batteries, the moving spa might just cover all 240 acres
This Farmall 200 with weather enclosure reminds us of the agricultural version of the Popemobile
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This Farmall 200 with weather enclosure reminds us of the agricultural version of the Popemobile
Vintage Motors For Sale In The Swap Meet
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Vintage Motors For Sale In The Swap Meet
This 1910 Case Steam Tractor runs a working vintage sawmill. It produces 75 HP @ 250 rpm and when under a full load it needs 375 pounds of coal PER HOUR to feed it
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This 1910 Case Steam Tractor runs a working vintage sawmill. It produces 75 HP @ 250 rpm and when under a full load it needs 375 pounds of coal PER HOUR to feed it
1910 Case Steam Tractor: That belt is what transfers the power to the sawmill
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1910 Case Steam Tractor: That belt is what transfers the power to the sawmill
Florida Flywheelers club owns the vintage sawmill, John Kregl is the club member designated to run it
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Florida Flywheelers club owns the vintage sawmill, John Kregl is the club member designated to run it
Somebody has to shovel hard to feed this gal
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Somebody has to shovel hard to feed this gal
The Florida Flywheelers Club has made an entire village all from wood cut in the vintage saw mill. This is the Motorcycle Shop.
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The Florida Flywheelers Club has made an entire village all from wood cut in the vintage saw mill. This is the Motorcycle Shop.
This motorcycle shop display and much of what you will see here is display only - the entire Village is a labor of love
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This motorcycle shop display and much of what you will see here is display only - the entire Village is a labor of love
One of the many John Deere's on display and driving around the property all day
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One of the many John Deere's on display and driving around the property all day
Different styles of wheels depend on the job the machine was designed to perform, and how tight it needed to turn
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Different styles of wheels depend on the job the machine was designed to perform, and how tight it needed to turn
All in the family - Hunter Cheshire of West Palm Beach, FL drives a Farmall AB in the tractor parade.
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All in the family - Hunter Cheshire of West Palm Beach, FL drives a Farmall AB in the tractor parade.
Authentic 1882 Jail Reconstruction: Built in 1882 in Pine Level, Florida it's been reconstructed here on the Florida Flywheelers property
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Authentic 1882 Jail Reconstruction: Built in 1882 in Pine Level, Florida it's been reconstructed here on the Florida Flywheelers property
Perp's eye view - if this were 1885 you might be sharing a bunk with the nationally famous "Sarasota Vigilante Gang" who were held in this cell
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Perp's eye view - if this were 1885 you might be sharing a bunk with the nationally famous "Sarasota Vigilante Gang" who were held in this cell
Florida Flywheelers Village Quilt Shop
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Florida Flywheelers Village Quilt Shop
This vintage car dealership replica was made from wood from the sawmill
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This vintage car dealership replica was made from wood from the sawmill
And in keeping with the illusion, the vintage car dealership stocked a full inventory
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And in keeping with the illusion, the vintage car dealership stocked a full inventory
Inside the Car Dealership Display
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Inside the Car Dealership Display
This Car Dealership Offers Tractors Too
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This Car Dealership Offers Tractors Too
It's a bring the family event and this children's train ride made of barrels runs all around the 250 acre Florida Flywheelers property
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It's a bring the family event and this children's train ride made of barrels runs all around the 250 acre Florida Flywheelers property
Not a Farmall, A FromAll - as in the parts to build this knee high tractor came from all over. The steering wheel is a fire extinguisher top
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Not a Farmall, A FromAll - as in the parts to build this knee high tractor came from all over. The steering wheel is a fire extinguisher top
Notice the counterweights (large green plate and red plate) getting the amount and placement of these correct is much of the secret to winning
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Notice the counterweights (large green plate and red plate) getting the amount and placement of these correct is much of the secret to winning
Looking for an antique hit-and-miss engine? This is the place!
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Looking for an antique hit-and-miss engine? This is the place!
Late 1800 foot powered lathe, brand unknown
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Late 1800 foot powered lathe, brand unknown
Distinctive long connecting rods and really tall pistons hit-and-miss engines use seem strange in modern context
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Distinctive long connecting rods and really tall pistons hit-and-miss engines use seem strange in modern context
Model car and Airplane engines
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Model car and Airplane engines
Model Airplane engine display
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Model Airplane engine display
Model Airplane Wankel Rotary Engine. It runs on a combination of Methanol, Castor Oil and Nitromethane
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Model Airplane Wankel Rotary Engine. It runs on a combination of Methanol, Castor Oil and Nitromethane
Cox TD 0110 cubic inch model airplane engine. That's 1/10 cubic inch!
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Cox TD 0110 cubic inch model airplane engine. That's 1/10 cubic inch!
Fairbanks Morse 3 HP hit-and-miss engine
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Fairbanks Morse 3 HP hit-and-miss engine
Florida Flywheeler's Village
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Florida Flywheeler's Village
Vintage tools, and a brief lesson on why they are important
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Vintage tools, and a brief lesson on why they are important
A cottage in the Flywheelers Village
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A cottage in the Flywheelers Village
This one needs some work but it's presumably waiting its turn at Walt's Garage
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This one needs some work but it's presumably waiting its turn at Walt's Garage
Vintage engines and an antique washing machine on display in the village
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Vintage engines and an antique washing machine on display in the village
The Mother of all flywheels: This running 1914 engine features a 12 ton flywheel 12 feet in diameter. It made 400 horsepower at 120 rpm and was used to pump natural gas (which was also its fuel type) from the wells to the gas supply businesses. How big is it you ask? A mere 40,000 c.i.
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The Mother of all flywheels: This running 1914 engine features a 12 ton flywheel 12 feet in diameter. It made 400 horsepower at 120 rpm and was used to pump natural gas (which was also its fuel type) from the wells to the gas supply businesses. How big is it you ask? A mere 40,000 c.i.
1914 F.S.Snow engine - we didn't measure it but it's probably close to 30 feet long
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1914 F.S.Snow engine - we didn't measure it but it's probably close to 30 feet long
Pretty impressive piston rings. Must have been a battle to get them installed!
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Pretty impressive piston rings. Must have been a battle to get them installed!
These beautifully restored antique rigs were scattered all around the park and produced different flavors at each stand
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These beautifully restored antique rigs were scattered all around the park and produced different flavors at each stand
Vintage Maytag Toy Racer
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Vintage Maytag Toy Racer
Highlight of the afternoon is the tractor parade which is a unique opportunity to see so many different types, shapes and styles. It's also a true family affair with Mom's, Dad's and all the kids driving and riding along.
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Highlight of the afternoon is the tractor parade which is a unique opportunity to see so many different types, shapes and styles. It's also a true family affair with Mom's, Dad's and all the kids driving and riding along.
John Deere Competition Tractor
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John Deere Competition Tractor

Labor saving devices are nothing new, but they rarely inspire the kind of dedicated stewardship that antique engines do. This week in Fort Meade, Florida, the 1500 members of the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club opened the gates of their unique 240-acre clubhouse to give the public a first hand look at the fruits of this devotion. If you harbor a secret wish to operate a tractor, bulldozer or backhoe, these are your people.

With a mission to "preserve the past for the future" they have built numerous display buildings, a running vintage steam powered sawmill (check out the video below), a tractor pull track and a large construction field where members can pull levers and push dirt with vintage cranes, backhoes and bulldozers.

Steam_SawMill

There's a huge swap meet area too but don't be disappointed if your money isn't good here. At least half the "vendors" are proudly showing off restored tractors and century old hit-and-miss engines, a particular favorite of this crowd because of its tough reliability and unique sound.

Hit-and-miss engines are four stroke combustion engines noted for its distinctive sound of a loud pop on the hit stroke followed by numerous woosh, woosh, woosh strokes until the speed decreases and it needs power (a hit) again. They are running reliably unattended all around the property, some being used for the noble task of churning some of the best homemade ice cream you have ever tasted.

These engines are big and heavy, slow and steady, making between 250 and 600 rpms but there is something really romantically appealing about them with their bright colors and huge flywheels and it's easy to see why they inspire such dedicated loyalty.

Highlight of the afternoon is the tractor parade which is a unique opportunity to see so many different types, shapes and styles. It's also a true family affair with Mom's, Dad's and all the kids driving and riding along.
Highlight of the afternoon is the tractor parade which is a unique opportunity to see so many different types, shapes and styles. It's also a true family affair with Mom's, Dad's and all the kids driving and riding along.

Also getting a large amount of love here are antique tractors which come in many sizes, shapes and specialties. It's hard not to think of Italian racing cars when you see some of the streamlined orchard tractors with flowing bodywork and slim profiles made to work the isles between trees. Each afternoon of the 4-day event they stage a parade; an incredible assortment of beautifully restored tractors chug around the property giving the spectators a great perspective on the sheer variety of machines from yesteryear.

The club is proud to point out that all the buildings in the village were made from wood from their working sawmill and when you see the quality of the buildings, it's clear that while these machines are harder to use than their modern counterparts, the extra effort still produces impressive results.

Check out the photo gallery of engines, tractors, the village, displays and tractor pull. The Florida Flywheelers open house takes place three times a year – the next event is February 24 – 27, 2016. It's worth going for the ice cream alone!

1 comment
steveraxx
So many awesome stories. Thank you Gizmag!