What to Know Before You Buy:
Buying a piece of antique or vintage equipment – whether it’s a garden tractor, pop machine, or anything in between – is an excellent opportunity to invest in a piece of American history. Many older pieces were crafted in the USA with pride and attention to detail, and it’s this same legacy of outstanding craftsmanship that encourages people to buy restored pieces today.
A History of Mystery…
If you are unfamiliar with buying such items, understand that although they may each be very different – they share one thing in common – a very long, storied past. While some items may have been lovingly cared for throughout their history, others were left in less-than-ideal environments – outdoors in the elements, in facilities that were not climate-controlled, etc.
The bottom line: Most all of the items we restore have been around for 20, 30, 40…even 80 years before we receive them, so there is a large element of mystery in terms of the history of each piece. You should never assume that an hours meter or similar device is accurate – there is no single, foolproof way to know how correct it was during the life of the item or whether it was replaced at some point. Given these variables, it is up to you to determine whether you are comfortable purchasing such an item.
Is buying vintage/antique the right choice for you?
Buying vintage/antique isn’t for everyone. If you can say “yes” to the following statements, buying vintage/antique is not a good match for you:
- Quality isn’t important to me – I’m looking for an inexpensive piece of equipment or even a replica.
- I’m ok with buying something that I will simply discard after a few years.
- I don’t want to have to maintain anything – as close to maintenance-free as possible is what I look for.
What does “restored” mean?
In reality, we like to say that there is no set definition for the term “restored.” For some projects, the restoration may be purely cosmetic – applying new paint and decals, replacing a piece of glass, adding trim that was absent. More complex projects may involve both mechanical and cosmetic work. Throughout the restoration process, we often take photos detailing the journey of the piece from initial disassembly all the way “back to life.
We’re often asked our opinion on classic John Deere lawn tractors versus what’s available on the market today. We say: Reliable, nostalgic and dependable, they sure have lived up to the infamous slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere.”