This will be the photo heavy, informative, and hopefully entertaining journal of the refurbish of what possibly may be one of the only survivors of a handful of Bolens 1886 tractors with the Green front mount forklift attachment.
Old Buzzard contacted me out of the blue a couple months ago about this obscure forklift Bolens. Why in the world he asked me, I will never know, but he did, and he hopefully hasn't regretted that yet. If he has, he hasn't told me, but just between me and you I'm expecting to hear it anytime.
As months went by, I nearly forgot about the tractor until he called me and said that the HMS Rainmaker was interested in lining up a bill of lading for a Bolens tractor from the home port to the harbor at Mt. Solon, VA. At first I had my doubts about allowing him to come, since we locals had just survived a monsoon within the past few weeks and we weren't exactly thrilled about another, but I decided to take my risks.
Old Buzzard dropped the machine off one evening. The HMS Rainmaker docked at approximately 4:00 EST while I was knee deep in my full time job at a local tractor dealer and rental store. At 4:00 on that fateful day I was waist deep in a rental skid loader that had been backed into a pole barn. My cell phone rang while I was stretching with a ratchet and socket, holding the upper end of a bolt in my mouth while balancing myself on the two forks of a forklift trying to support a heavy cast iron counterweight as it was lined up onto the mounting plate.
The conversation over the phone with home was futile for both parties. I was still supporting the counterweight, sans bolt in the mouth, and could not leave if I was desperate to. Home still did not quite understand how the peaceful driveway was suddenly clogged with a ship of the line hooked to a tag along trailer with this strange forklift, and how I was unable to leave, but they got over it.
However, Old Buzzard made the best of a nasty situation and was equipped with a generator. By the time I came home, they were probably despairing of ever getting the tractor project complete.
After the brief meet and greet of Old Buzzard and Young Buzzard, the tractor was dumped off the back of the trailer fairly uneventfully. I was impressed by how well it ran and how well it worked.
Old Buzzard and Young Buzzard received the nickel tour of the shop, received the refund of one dime for putting up with it, and resignedly left the tractor to its fate. I suspect Old Buzzard wondered if he would ever see it again.
That left me and Bolens. I had to hurry and get it inside, since I have to admit I was worried about the rain that I knew would come because the HMS Rainmaker was still in the vicinity.
That next Saturday I decided a test operation was in order so I knew what I was messing with. Surprisingly, the tractor did not blow up as I got it going.
To cut this post short, the following are the before surgery pictures.
And we do have some reach with this rig:
Under the unit, take a look at the hookups for the forklift:
Nice running Kohler, never was a better engine other than all the others I like,
Lone Bolens sticker!
I assume the previous owner was an Exmark dealer, also?!?