Harvey Zehr and his family had their large collection of Olivers included in Sunday’s Sibley Burr Oaks Tractor Drive which stopped at various locations in Cropsey and Fairbury.
Zehr’s father had Olivers ever since they came out with the tractor and when he passed away, Zehr bought four of his father’s tractors and decided to buy more. He now has 17.
“We bring as many as we can on the drive so we’ve got five family members in here that drive them,” Zehr said.
The oldest is a 1929 in the newest a 1974 model. The Zehrs take the Olivers to several shows throughout the area.
“You see how the Oliver progressed from the Hart Pars that he has all the way up to the 1974 (model),” said Zehr’s daughter, Rebekah Fehr.
Fehr’s particular favorite is the 550 Oliver from 1964 which was the first tractor her grandfather taught her how to drive. Fehr acknowledges the old tractors make quite the impression on residents of retirement facilities.
“They just think it’s the greatest thing and you can hear them saying I was on that or my dad farmed with that. It kind of makes us feel good that we can give them that memory back,” Fehr said.
Zehr admits it takes quite a bit of work to maintain an Oliver fleet. He would acquire more but believes he needs to cut back.
“Even if you had them running when you put them away in the shed, you get back out there and find out something happened so you’ve got to keep the repair work up,” Zehr notes.