37-year-old gold tractor drawing crowds' attention

Roger Siemsen's 1970 model 826 IH tractor.

You’ve heard about the proverbial pig in a poke. And also the line “turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” Either one of these fits Roger Siemsen’s 1970 model 826 IH tractor which is currently touring the United States catching major farm shows such as the Farm Progress Show, Decatur, Ill., and Husker Harvest Days at Grand Island, Neb.

So why is a 37-year-old tractor getting so much attention? Partly because it’s painted gold, and also because IH made only about 200 of this particular model in 1970 and they were all painted gold.

Siemsen admitted to being a bit of a “collector’s nut” when it comes to old tractors.

“The original owner had repainted it red. When I found it, I started restoring the tractor,” he said, which mostly involved mechanical fixing.

The plot gets even more interesting. Case-IH (which didn’t exist in 1970) found out about Siemsen’s rare tractor, leased it from him and finished a complete restoration including gold fenders and all the trim work. The reason Case-IH latched on to his tractor is because they are reintroducing two new models, both of which will again be painted solid gold.

“It’s a neat tractor, 84 to 87 horsepower with wide front-end and gear-driven,” said Siemsen, who isn’t certain how many miles and farm shows his rig will make before it finally gets back to his Hutchinson address.

He’s giving his rig another special touch — he runs it on B100, which is pure soy diesel. He has two other old tractors and a diesel-powered pickup, and each of these units also run on B100. “Not a speck of trouble and you couldn’t ask for a cleaner burning fuel.”

Siemsen, 61, works for Hutchinson Co-op so he’s well-tuned to the changes in modern fuels. He said a growing number of their customers are now using biodiesel fuels, often up to 20 percent or higher biodiesel.

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