Note: This feature is in the July TF 2017 issue.
Gene Gregory has carved a niche in the pedal tractor sector of the farm toy hobby. His carving was literal, as the first step in scratch building die-cast pedal tractors requires an image that is sculpted from wood.
Gene's interest in farm equipment dates back several years when he restored numerous antique tractors. "Restoring antique tractors was certainly interesting, but toting those big clunkers around to display at shows got to be a chore. When attending those shows, I began noticing pedal tractors. They were nice, but lacked detail; a little plain, if you will. About 1979, I decided to sell off my antique tractors and try my hand at scratch building pedal tractors. I had a little experience in carving wood ducks. So carving bodies to create the molds for the pedal tractors seemed like something I could manage," Gene noted.
Before setting a course to build pedal tractors, Gene established two objectives. He commented, "I first wanted to build tractors that had not previously been made for pedaling. Second, I wanted detail that would more nearly duplicate the manufactured version. The Silver King tractor had been built in Plymouth, Ohio,, close to my home in Loudonville. Since it had not been made as a pedal tractor, it became my first project."
All told, Gene scratch built about 10 different pedal tractor models. "With each new model, I added more detail. I strived to make the next model better than the previous one. The last pedal tractor I built was the Minneapolis-Moline Model 445 in 2009," Gene reflected.
As a builder of pedal tractors, Gene raised the bar to a new standard in terms of quality and detail. With the progression of time, he crafted the first die-cast wheels for pedal tractors that emulated wheels of the original tractor.
Gene's precision-crafted pedal tractors have become highly collectible, often commanding high prices through public auctions.