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This past year at the Fawn Grove Olde Tyme Days show I got to meet Dan Kehr. Dan and his father build custom garden tractors in ½ scale replicating the larger farm tractors. The new tractor that they built this year is a Minneapolis Molines G706.

Dan said they still have a few more things to add like an umbrella and this is his first one that they built a custom frame for. So far they have 530 hours in to the build. It is powered by a 16hp Briggs & Stratton engine. Instead of using the built in alternator on the engine they used an actual side mounted, belt driven alternator to be exact scale because the full size G706 uses a regular alternator as well.

There are approximately ten different garden tractors that went in to building the rear wheel weights for the Molines. The front wheel weights are off of a Simplicity. The air filter is custom built to match the full scale tractor as well, although not functional Dan says they incorporate every small detail even if it isn't a functioning piece.

I asked Dan if it was true four wheel drive, he said: "It is actually considered to be front wheel assist. The tractor normally runs on two wheel drive and then uses a manually operated diversion valve to send power to the other hydraulic motor to drive the transfer case which powers the front differential."

Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire

The differential is out of a 1933 Desoto and the hydraulics from a Toro Sand Pro which is a three wheeled machine used on golf courses. The Toro Sand Pro has the diversion valve and the separate drives which was used for the drive system. The front wheels are off of a Kubota and the rear wheels are off of a Case International Compact. The upper steering assembly is off of a MTD 990.

Vehicle Motor vehicle Yellow Steering wheel Gas

Dan wanted to have true power steering just like the real tractor and tried the front end from a John Deere 400 but he said dimensionally it just wasn't half scale. He also thought about using the power steering from a large frame Bolens but we all know how rare they can be sometimes and that just wasn't happening. So they had to fake the power steering and used a hood shock from an International truck and he brazed the fittings on for the hoses and used an oil pump from a furnace to resemble the power steering pump.

The work on the grill and hood assembly are absolutely amazing. He did the entire grill by hand, also using grill screens from a John Deere 110 garden tractor. The hood was rolled at a local company because he didn't have the capability because of the length of the hood which is over 50 inches long. On the real tractor the hood is over 9 foot long.

Automotive lighting Yellow Gas Automotive exterior Machine

For the electrical system and lighting, the lights are mounted at the same spots as the real tractor but they used LEDs for more of a modern approach to the lighting system. Only one battery on the tractor is used for the electrical system but because the real tractor has two, this one has two.

Vehicle Wood Automotive design Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

Dan has a local decal guy that does all of his decals. They even have the same part numbers on the oil filters as the real tractor. The attentions to the small details are amazing including the decals on the batteries and the hood.

Dan has the uncanny ability to be able to look at any part and already place it in his future projects. He starts collecting parts for projects five years in advance with ideas that are just thoughts at the time. He will find a part at an auction and build the next project around that one part along with all the other pieces he has accumulated. All of their projects are five years in the making with collecting all of the pieces needed.

Dan and his father have a lot of interesting projects coming up in the future. I don't want to mention them now and spoil the fun so you will just have to wait. One thing I will say is that they do some amazing work. The have quite a few custom half scale pieces in their collection. I will include some of the pictures I had taken of their previous projects like the John Deere High Crop and the Massey Ferguson 1100 Narrow Front. A big thanks goes to Dan and his father for taking the time to let me interview them and take some better pics of the Minneapolis Molines G706 half scale.

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Wheel Tire Tractor Vehicle Automotive tire

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Wheel Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire

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Here is the John Deere 4010 High Crop:

Wheel Tire Tractor Vehicle Automotive tire

Wheel Tractor Tire Vehicle Automotive tire

Here is the Massey Ferguson 1100 Narrow Front:

Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Tractor

Wheel Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire

Wheel Tire Vehicle Automotive tire Tread

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