backroads molines

At the end of the summer every year around Labor Day, Gene Loxterkamp, Tom Seifermenn and Steve Korf display their collection of tractors for a week or so. This is not your average collection of a few interesting but random tractors. These modest gentlemen have spent about three and a half decades gathering together more than 60 tractors and other wheeled implements manufactured by the Minneapolis Moline Company — as well as its predecessors and ancestors. Most of the time most of the collection is under the roofs of buildings at the implement dealership they were partners in, located in El Rosa, Minn.

“It takes about three days to get them all out,” Korf says. “You’ve go to pump up the tires and put a battery on a lot of them.”

He points out that many of the tractors are started with a hand crank. Others run mostly on kerosene with a gasoline jump start.

“It’s good to run them once a year,” Loxterkamp says. 

The trio even start and bring out their magnificent green, red, yellow and gray Minneapolis Thrasher which was built by The Minneapolis Thrashing Machine Company, founded in Hopkins, Minn. in 1889.

The three men purchased The Minneapolis near Bellingham, in southwestern Minnesota, and painstakingly restored it at the shop in El Rosa.

“They used it for farm work and road construction,” Korf, whose father Elmer started the El Rosa Minneapolis Moline dealership in 1940, said.

Minneapolis Moline’s history, which the three men know well, mirrors the history of the manufacturing of farm implements in America. It’s a history of continuous corporate mergers and concentration.

Minneapolis Moline was a 1929 merger of three companies: Minneapolis Steel and Machinery (known for its Minneapolis Tractors and bad labor relations), Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company, and the Moline Plow Company. In 1951 Minneapolis-Moline acquired the Avery farm equipment company and in that same year White Motor Company acquired Minneapolis Moline. AGCO purchased White, which had purchased New Idea in 1991.

Much of the early mechanical history of the company is exhibited at El Rosa. You can see, for example, a really sharp 69-horsepower Minneapolis Moline Model M5 manufactured between 1960 and 1963 and sold new for $4,900. There’s also a very nice red, white and blue White-Minneapolis Moline G1050 that sold for $11,800 in 1971.

There’s lots of other rare and fascinating equipment on display and what was there in 2020 will be there in 2021 since the trio doesn’t trade what they’ve collected.