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Some Wheel Horse History


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#1 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2011 - 09:43 AM

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#2 DanO OFFLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2011 - 10:24 AM

Great Info, thanks for posting. It's allways so interesting to know the Behind the scenes story of a company.

""And That, (as Paul Harvey Would say) Is THE REST of the story!"

#3 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2011 - 04:31 PM

Also very interesting. Thanks

#4 MikesRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2011 - 10:10 PM

The company gets sold to Toro in the late 1980’s


5/23/1974 - Cecil Pond Sells WH to American Motors Corporation
1/14/1982 WH sold by AMC to Munn Investments
1986 WH sold by Munn Investments to the TORO Company
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#5 DanO OFFLINE  

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Posted February 21, 2011 - 10:27 PM

Thanks for that info...very interesting, I never knew that AMC owned Wheel Horse Tractor Co.

AMC...The Last Great American Car Company....I Still drive a 1980 Concord wagon.

#6 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2011 - 06:56 PM

Thanks Maynard. That was a lot of great information! I really appreciate it as there is still much that I don't know about them. Thanks for the supplements too Mike, I didn't know that AMC owned them either. Was there some financial turmoil that caused them to be sold so (relatively) rapid fire to AMC, the investment firm, then Toro?

#7 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2011 - 11:57 PM

Thanks for that info...very interesting, I never knew that AMC owned Wheel Horse Tractor Co.

AMC...The Last Great American Car Company....I Still drive a 1980 Concord wagon.


I learned to drive in a 1969 Rambler, 3-speed on the column, 6-cyl!

#8 MikesRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2011 - 12:40 AM

Cecil Pond was in the midst of medical issues in '73 and decided to sell by '74. AMC at the time was in the midst of buying up all kinds of diverse businesses (outside or on the fringe of the auto industry) as well. The late 70's into the mid 80's marked the period of "hostile takeover" in corporate America, hence the somewhat rapid-fire succession of hands. Everyone trying to make a quick buck.

My belief is that Toro wanted WH for three very good reasons. 1) WH had a great reputation with a loyal customer following, 2) Toro wanted to remove the sales competition, and 3) Tor wanted to add WH's market share to their books. Again, making a buck in the process. The sad part is that as time went on people were no longer willing to plunk down $4000- $7000 for a real, quality Garden tractor, which in turn caused all of the LT and GT manufacturers to make the box-store crap we have available today. It's a simple case of supply and demand at a given price point. Most buyers simply don't understand that they will buy three or more of the $2000 box-store tractors in 30 years, but they would still have that $4000 Wheel Horse (most likely for the rest of their life) if they take good care of it.

Edited by MikesRJ, February 23, 2011 - 12:50 AM.

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#9 Tmo OFFLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2011 - 08:13 AM

There was a book written by Ken Melrose, a CEO of Toro. It was titled "Making the Grass Greener on Your Side, a CEO's Journey to Leading by Serving". Starting on page 184, he explained the buy out of Wheel Horse. Here's an excerpt:

"In December 1986 we bought Wheel Horse, a lawn and garden tractor manufacturer with a direct dealer distribution system. In the past, we would have "Toroized" it immediately - changed all of the systems, integrated, consolidated, and amalgamated, until it emerged as another Toro product line. We'd have eliminated the Wheel Horse name, its direct distribution, its customer service ethic, and the product values that made the tractors Wheel Horse.
Instead, we took advantage of the potential synergies. While our Toro riding mowers had been growing nicely and our rear engine rider had been rated number one by Consumer Reports, the Wheel Horse people were the tractor experts. Our goal was to bring the stronger Toro brand name to the Wheel Horse product line, to....."

That's as far as the book review would let me go, but I remember Toro wanted Wheel Horse's expertise and their distribution system.
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#10 Bill56 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2011 - 05:01 PM

Thanks for the post, Maynard. Very interesting but, like a lot of our beloved GT histories, a very sad story in the end.




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