Well, for me I would have to think that my grandparents got me into tractors. As i was growing up my family had nothing but Bolens. I always went along with my grandparents to hauseman's garage which sold Bolens/Troy Bilts and also Lawn Boys. As I grew up for as long as I can remember I always helped pop take the deck off the Bolens....which at the time was a 1600 Hydro Eliminator....and help clean out the deck of old grass and he would sharpen the blades. When I was about 10-12 years old I started to help out with the mowing which at first didnt include riding the tractor except taking it out and putting it back in the garage. Then in and around the time I was 12 or 5th grade(1999), I remember them buying the Troy Bilt GTX 16 which we still have. I also got to help do the deck on this tractor too. To be honest I wasnt allowed to mow the yard till I was about 14. I was always into cars too so I went to school for that which was votech in high school and uti after high school. Coming up to when I graduated uti in july 07, I couldnt find a job in automotive thanks to the economy and ended up becoming a truck driver which I am still doing today. Back in 2008 I really started to do the deck on the tractor myself since pop was getting older and next thing i know I was looking for my own tractor.
After a month or 2, I found myself buying a tractor which once it was fixed and painted I sold it to my grandparents...it was a 90 Servistar tractor which I just sold to some other people 10 mi away this past monday.
Couple months later I went out and bought my own and very first Bolens....a 67-68 1050 which had a 12hp wisconsin engine swap in it.
From that day on, I bought many different tractors, push mowers and even started really getting into the mechanics of them. At one point in 2010 I had about 15-20 tractors and at least that many push mowers. For me after having many tractors and going through the past couple weeks and selling off a shed full of push mowers and tractors( wait till you guys who watch my youtube channel see all i got rid of!!) I now only have my Bolens 800, 900, and 1050. plus my little mtd ride magic and 66 craftsman, as well as both my montgomery and eclipse reel mowers....THATS IT!!! I still have the 66 craftsman for sale as well as about 5 push mowers, and both my reel mowers too which hopefully will sell this spring/summer.
I have tried to do a restoration on a jacobsen I use to have but gave up on it, and I believe it is do to a lack of experience with these machines and the fact that I had to many things going on at the same time and rather than concintrating on just the resto, I was doing repairs on other mowers.... however if I were to finally do one I would try to get them as close to original as possible. I do like the original weathered look though because it shows a test of time so if it runs drives and operates I could care less what it looks like.
I am most likely going to stay with bolens because I was brought up on them and love to work on them too....however, you never know what you may find or come across:D