Here’s what Josh had to say about the 3rd Groundsaw he purchased right after getting it home:
“The Groundsaw. This is the very first groundsaw I had ever seen, back when I began collecting. It was on craigslist in 2011 in Maryland, and quickly sold. The other two I have found since only fueled my ‘need’ to find this very first one! This past year, with the help of a great friend, I was able to locate and purchase it. It took some time to make arrangements for the 2 day drive to retrieve it. It’s better than I had hoped and I am thrilled. The story in 2011 when I inquired with the seller, was that it was purchased through the liquidation of an East Coast Simplicity dealer, who had never sold the unit, but instead had it as an early demonstration machine. I thought it has been repainted, but in the flesh, it is quite clear that it is not. The paint is sort of thrown on, but there is no other paint beneath it, and it looks like other industrial type Allied Implements I have from the era. The yellow of the boom appears to be the original paint as well. The carbide tips have nice, sharp corners on them, and I’m willing to bet this hasn’t been in the dirt more than a couple times. It is like new. I rinsed some old caked on sand off, and it’s hard to tell it’s not fresh from the factory in Vinton.
The tractor was more of a surprise than I thought as well. It is not a model 725 (Simplicity’s 3rd model rider, 1962-63) as it appeared in the pictures, but instead a Wonderboy 700 (Simplicity’s first rider, 1959-60). The Wonderboy’s are more desirable, and this one even has a nice, legible model and serial # tag. The early Simplicity’s are notorious for losing the paint on the aluminum plate tag, and along with it, a clear understanding of which model tractor is represented, as only slight physical differences differentiate between the first 3 Simplicity models. I am also amazed to see that this tractor is serial #16. It’s quite possibly the oldest surviving Simplicity front engine rider. The disappointing part is that the hood appears to be a replacement and is in rougher shape than the rest of the tractor, hence the model 725 badges. I will be eagerly seeking out Wonderboy badges, or even a nice original hood. They are scarce and can be quite pricey. Being a Wonderboy makes most of the nuances I previously noticed about this tractor make sense. The front wheels, clutch pedal, shifter plate, shifter etc are all Wonderboy components. I’m glad the model number is present and confirms this. The modifications I have found are so nicely done, they appear to be factory, however I don’t believe they could be. I think that they help confirm that this was actually a demonstrator tractor, as the story suggests, and a dealer outfitted the machine with a choke and ammeter, to jazz it up for demonstration use.
The seat is indeed encapsulated with the original plastic. The manufacturer logo can still be seen within it, and there is very faint writing on the plastic that appears to be something perhaps written during production. I need to look better to see if I can read it accurately. The engine appears to be the original. There are no witness marks from the mid implement PTO ever being mounted on the tractor, nor any wear at the points where front, mid or rear attachments would have been used. The front PTO shaft still has the original protective cover in place. All the tires are original. It’s a nice time capsule!
Being an early serial # tractor, I was somewhat surprised to see the 1960 Briggs, BUT…A Wonderboy with a 1959 model 19 Briggs has never actually been found. My theory has always been that Simplicity ‘released’ the marketing material for the Wonderboy in late 59, but that none were actually produced for sale yet. This certainly supports that thought. The tractor runs great, and groundsaw operates wonderfully. I will take some more glamour shots of my ‘Demonstrator’, and plan to add . I have an NOS front light and light mount for this machine, and will add OEM dual wheel adapters and a nice, matched pair of survivor 6-12 Goodyear turfs. There is a tremendous load on the narrow rubber, and I think dual 6-12s would have a nice industrial look, that is also seen in some of the early Allis/Hawk Bilt literature. This model is one of my favorites, and aside from the acid burn from an old battery, I am over the moon with it’s condition and story. Well worth the wait and 1500 miles to fetch it. ”
And, here’s the initial pictures that Josh sent me (notice the 6″ wide chain–very rare):
Here’s the pictures Josh sent me when he got #3 home (you can click on the images to get a larger view):