Meet the man who has restored 27 antique John Deere tractors
Nearly two decades ago, Duaine Filsinger of Clearwater, Nebraska, bought an antique John Deere 620-O orchard tractor from a friend whose wife wouldn't let him collect tractors. After a few years sitting in his shop, Filsinger discovered that a 260-O in good condition could sell for nearly $60,000 and decided to get to work restoring it. Today, the number of antique Deere models he has restored to their former glory is up to 27.
Every year since 1997, Filsinger has showcased one of his pieces at the Tractors on the Mall event at the Sunset Plaza in Norfolk, Nebraska. The orchard tractor, which he says required extensive repairs after probably being used in construction after years in orange groves, is this year's offering. He told the Omaha World-Herald that a lot of visitors didn't know what it was due to the scarcity of orchards in Nebraska, thinking it was a racing tractor.
His entire collection is on display in a museum he has set up in Clearwater, along with a wealth of John Deere memorabilia. His love for tractors has been a lifelong affair: He grew up on a farm and learned to repair equipment as a child, and worked at Deere dealerships until his retirement.
Filsinger says that he is fairly happy with his collection as it currently stands, but at the top of his wish list is a Waterloo Boy, one of the first gasoline-powered tractors, manufactured nearly 100 years ago by Deere's predecessor, the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company.
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Filsinger has restored more than two dozen antique John Deere models.