Dozens of collectors from around the country recently showed off their antique Caterpillar, Holt and Best machines at the annual Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club National Show. The event, held at Holt Cat in Texas, helped commemorate 85 years of the dealership – and over 100 years of innovative machines that are now part of Caterpillar’s legacy.
The Beginning of “Club Caterpillar”
In the early 1990s, the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) was born. The club was originally made up of about 40 members from all over the world – the youngest just 13 years old and the furthest being from Western Australia – and today has grown to over 2,700 worldwide. Members come from many walks of life, from farmers and contractors to accountants and lawyers.
These enthusiasts love the “hunt” to find the oldest, rarest and most unique machines. Some are found abandoned in farm fields or along the sides of old mountain roads. Others are inherited, bartered for, or still in use after many years of faithful service. With painstaking effort, they are restored, using only the right parts and paint matched to the original color. Little by little, these machines are brought back to life.
“It’s a really passionate group of machinery owners who love our collective history,” says Peter J. Holt, Holt Cat CEO, and the great-great grandson of one of Caterpillar’s founders, Benjamin Holt. “The joy that people get from the antique tractors, and then all the stories around it – that passion and excitement is pretty obvious.”
2018 National Show
ACMOC has traditionally held a national show somewhere in the United States each fall. The 2018 show at the Holt Cat headquarters in San Antonio brought together collectors, the public and roughly 2,000 Holt employees there to celebrate the company’s anniversary.
“These are the biggest Caterpillar fans out there,” says Corinna Holt Richter, Holt Cat President. “They’ve traveled all across the country with their machines to be here. It’s such a celebration of Caterpillar and Holt’s innovations throughout the years.”
“THESE ARE THE BIGGEST CATERPILLAR FANS OUT THERE. THEY’VE TRAVELED ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH THEIR MACHINES TO BE HERE.”
Rare and unique equipment was on display, including a Best 110 Steam Tractor (c. 1906), Caterpillar Expo Twenty (c. 1926), Caterpillar Diesel Sixty (c. 1931) and the only Holt 120 in the United States (c. 1917).
“To be able to bring these out into the public and show them to everybody is a lot of fun and it means a lot to me,” says Matt Veerkamp, a collector from Placerville, California with over 80 fully restored and working tractors. “All the hard work we put into these, collecting them, getting them, restoring them, the late nights…it’s really special to me to be able to share that.”
Watch the videos below to see some of the action from the event – including the machines on parade.