Steven Swintosky recalls driving by Joe’s Gravely Tractors, a Gravely dealership in his hometown of Lexington, Ky., with his parents when he was a child. Although he never had the opportunity to go inside the dealership, he remembers how exciting it was to see the red machines lining the building.
Swintosky with a Model D at the 2015 GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky.
Although he’s 57, Swintosky still hasn’t outgrown the excitement of seeing a Gravely tractor.
Swintosky found his first Gravely in 1991 at an auction on a farm. While wandering through the barn, he saw a Gravely two-wheeled tractor sitting in the dirt.
“It made me think of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz when they took him apart,” Swintosky said. “There was a piece of it here and a piece of it over there, and the poor thing just didn’t run.”
Feeling sorry for it, Swintosky left that auction with the tractor in tow.
“That one tractor started me out collecting Gravely,” Swintosky said. Although his wife isn’t always happy about it, Swintosky hasn’t stopped collecting.
“Sometimes she’ll tease me about buying yet another tractor, and I say, ‘Well, it crawled in my trailer. I couldn’t help it; it followed me home,’” Swintosky said.
Since buying his first tractor, Swintosky has grown his Gravely collection to nearly 60, including wing mowers, two-wheeled tractors and four-wheeled tractors.
“They’re all used for something,” Swintosky said. “Some collect dust, but that’s what they get used for.”
Swintosky attributes his affection for collecting Gravely products to the brand’s reputation for manufacturing durable machines.
“I don’t think Gravely ever heard of anything called built-in obsolescence, where it’s designed to quit after a few years to get you to buy another one,” Swintosky said. “Every Gravely I’ve ever owned was built on the idea of durability. They’re well-built machines that are designed to last. I think that’s the thing that attracts people to Gravely and keeps them coming back for more.”