The Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) president Bruce Vinkler, an American, said his passion was sparked, when he was a little boy.
“I bought a book, Bulldozer, from the bookmobile, which told a story of a young man who found a D2 Caterpillar tractor in a pond - he dragged it out of pond, fixed it up and started a contracting business,” Mr Vinkler said
“As a little boy, I read the book, so many times that it fell apart.”
Mr Vinkler said ACMOC had about 2500 members in America and 2800 world wide, with chapters in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Europe.
“We have collectors in the club who are accountants, lawyers and doctors, so there are no boundaries to who can become a collector.”
ACMOC was founded in 1991 by a small group of enthusiasts who all shared a similar passion, the legacy of antique Caterpillar machinery.
“Caterpillar relies on us to maintain the heritage, of the club, our members go out, find old machines in barns and fence rows, drag ‘em home, work on them.
“It’s truly a testament to Caterpillar that it’s not uncommon for someone to drag a machine out of a barn that’s been sitting their 50 years, clean it up, put some fresh fuel in it, and it starts.
“Some of our members have machines which date back to the beginning of the 1900’s, and it’s not uncommon to have machines from the 20’s and 30’s, that’s what’s amazing about them.”
Mr Vinkler said members had a nostalgic streak.
“Most of us have fond memories of being little boys, playing in the sand, with a toy truck, or toy car, or toy tractor and sitting by the roadside, watching them work in the field,” he said.
Parts, for restoration, rarely presented a problem to collectors.
“You can still purchase many repair parts from the parts counter at your local dealership,” Mr Vinkler said.
“Those that are not available, a lot of guys will purchase another tractor, that might not be restorable, it might have a crack transmission, and they will cannibalise it.
“And then there are those tractors from the 1920’s, you just can’t go get the part any more, but we have people who are so dedicated to the hobby that they actually go through the process of building moulds and patterns, to they can recast new parts.”
Based in Peoria, Illinois, ACMOC's mission was to assist and educate its members, and the general public, to appreciate the historic role of Caterpillar machinery in shaping the world.
ACMOC promoted the collection, preservation, restoration, display, and study of products and memorabilia of Caterpillar and its related predecessors.
Chapter Nineteen director Neil Clydsdale said some members did not even have machinery.
“Some of them collect models, some of them collect literature or workshop manuals,” Mr Clydsdale said.
“A lot of people don’t realise, a Caterpillar machine has had something to do with in just about everything in our lives.
“It’s a company which has had a significant impact on the modern world.”