The Panzer Tractor Owner’s Club’s website: www.panzertractors.com is the go-to source for information about all things Panzer since they probably have more original documents in their collection than anybody. According to their posted history of the Model A, only about 350 were built in 1954 before production was moved to a new facility in Laurel, Md. Of that 350, they know of 50 tractors that have survived.
James Clark was an engineer employed by Ahrendt Instrument Co. of College Park Maryland when he designed his first garden tractor, and approached his employers about building and marketing it. Ahrendt was one of the thousands of war time defense contractors who were looking for a transition to a civilian market and Clark’s tractor must have looked like a good option.
The Panzers that were built in 1954 at the College Park Ahrendt factory were called Model A’s and were marked on the jack shaft casting with that designation and College Park cast into the iron part, as on this one. After the Laurel, Md. plant opened in January, 1955, Copar started calling them Model T 102 and the Model A was officially relegated to the dustbin of Panzer history.
But wait, it's not that simple ( it never is ). There might be some Laurel T 102s out there with the College Park jackshaft casting because of an existing stock of production and repair parts. If so, the casting could say College Park and the only way to know would be by checking the serial number against a reliable registry.
With that in mind, I cranked up my computer and started looking for a serial number. On the casting along with “Model A” and “ College Park” cast into the metal is “ Serial Number” cast into the part. I ran the magnification slider up to about 75% and there it was, a blank space. It looked like at one time there had been a metal tag attached to the cast iron, but that had been a long time ago. Now there was only a rusty patch of iron.
Soooo! All that and I can’t say for sure that this is one of the few, the proud Model A’s. Oh well, onto more definite material. Model A tractors were powered by an eight and one half horsepower model 23 Briggs and Stratton engines and came from the factory equipped with cast iron pulleys. The entire tractor was painted red. The yellow wheel accent was added after the move to Laurel, Md.
Copar was sold to Virginia Metalcrafters located in Waynesboro, Va. in 1960 and tractors were then sold using the name Pennsylvania Lawn Products until the mid sixties, when a company called Jackson Manufacturing Co. bought them out. Production of Panzer tractors ended sometime in the early 1970’s.
The Panzer shown in these photos was exhibited at the Steam Expo in Cumming, Ga. last November. No information about it was displayed. For information about the 2019 show visit: www.capa-ga.com .
www.farmcollector.com The Panzer Tractor Through the Years by Sam Moore, May 2013