I couldn't agree more with what most of you guys are saying. I bought my first GT when I was 12 and things have changed a lot since then. Some have been great improvements such as this site where we can all get together as collectors and help each other with problems that we may be facing both tractor related and on a personal level. Great friendships have been forged because of this site and may others like it.
I completely agree with with the discussion on high prices on tires especially! To outfit a tractor with new tires the whole way around a lot of the time costs more that the actual tractor. I have actually started stockpiling used tires that i pick up at auctions or garage sales, even if i don't need them, for future use. If I need parts ebay is a last resort for me. I usually come to our vendors on this page or other GT related forums for my parts and i get treated well so i can't complain about that.
With that being said if I have the money i don't mind paying up for a good machine. Not all of my tractors were cheap in my opinion and I am very conscious about not ripping somebody off. The last tractor I bought though really left a bad taste in my mouth though as to what kind of sellers are out there these days. I bought a wheel horse 753 with hydraulic lift and paid a darn good price for it because he told me it ran perfect! I was a fool and trusted the seller and paid before i saw the machine. i got jipped big time. The steering broke before I got 20 feet away from the spot i picked it up at, ran like crap, and I still have issues with it, but that is on me because i just wanted it that bad and made a bad decision. That being said I have paid up for others as well. I paid up for a Case 220 with deck, blade, and integral hitch from the older gentleman who bought it new and had an incredible service record on it and had all the original literature for it. I've also gotten my fair share if deals too such as my cub 102 that i mow with weekly for $250 (good deal to me anyway). Got a running wheel horse 855 for $60 and traded work for a sears tractor. I've gotten tractors in all kinds of situations!
I used to collect literature on my tractors but that market has gotten way too crazy as I haven't bought any literature for quite a few years. it is nice to have that stuff to reference what was available for your tractors back in the day! it has been my observation that specialty items such as hub caps, literature, cabs, and certain attachments and options have always been too pricey for me.
I know that there a goofs our there that ask stupid prices that make me scratch my head, but I just keep scrolling past those and don't let it upset me. I know that there are those that have a lot more money than me that think they need to have everything for themselves or those that are only worry about making as much money as possible off a tractor and don't care who they have to step on to do it. This is world we live in. All that I try to do is to be the best person I can within the hobby and try to set a good example for others.
I think that would be the best thing for all of us to do is just not let the crazy people get us down and just keep trying to help each other out. There are still deals out there to be found, we just have to work a little harder to find them! (This is me trying to stay positive lol)