Restored Skid Steer

posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Dealer News

A super cool customer of ours, Matt Manternach of Manternach 4L Farms in Cascade, Iowa, did a phenomenal job restoring an early 1970s Model 14 John Deere skid steer. Learn more details in the story below...


That '70's Skid Steer

In 1980, Manternach’s father, Larry bought the farm’s first skid steer — a John Deere Model 70 — at a farm sale and brought it home in the back of a pickup truck. “It was perfect timing,” Manternach recalls. “When my older brothers went off to college, the same jobs still needed to be done. The skid steer was the right tool to replace that old wheelbarrow.”

Early John Deere skid steers including the company’s first offering, the Model 24, were marketed as mechanized wheelbarrow replacements. The Model 70 was introduced in 1972 along with its twin, the Model 14, Deere’s first industrial skid steer.

Manternach and his siblings loved the skid steer. “Boy, we thought we really had something,” he says. “You couldn’t have designed a better piece of equipment for the farm. It saved a lot of backbreaking jobs. It was handier than a pocket on a shirt.”

The machine is simple and intuitive to run, too. “One of the reasons my dad liked it was that it was so easy to operate,” says Manternach. “Just point the T-bar handle in the direction you want to go and use the foot pedals to control the arms and bucket. And the skid steer has a full rollover protection system, so my dad knew we could run it safely with a little practice.” that it didn’t look like the Model 70 in the that says Model 14. So we spoke with our local Deere dealer. He thought the machine was returned to the factory to be repainted and rebadged to sell in the ag market, where there might have been more demand at the time.”

In 1990, the original engine failed, so Manternach’s father and uncle replaced it with a 24-horsepower Kohler® lawnmower engine that fit perfectly. Manternach decided to repaint and restore the skid steer in 2018 when he needed to replace the hydraulic pump. “I’ve always had a passion for old equipment. I thought it would be neat to make the skid steer look like it did when it was original. It’s a pretty simple machine and didn’t take long to take apart. I spent some of my free time that winter replacing hydraulic lines and wheel seals and overhauling the hydrostatic pump. I also researched as best I could what the authentic appearance of a Model 14 would be and painted it John Deere construction yellow.”


As the farm’s needs changed over time, so did the family’s skid steers. They would later add a John Deere 675B to handle bigger jobs like hauling large round bales, and in 2012, they bought a used 2008 Deere 325 with auxiliary hydraulics to do even more jobs, which they still run to this day.

Manternach believes the farm’s Model 70 came out of the factory as a Model 14. Soon after they got it home, he and his father saw industrial yellow paint coming through the green paint. “We also noticed have changed and everything has gotten bigger, Deere is still right there for us with the support we need from our local John Deere dealer, Martin Equipment, in Dubuque, IA. Their equipment has always been great and stood the test of time.”

Manternach 4L Farms is supported by our Dubuque, Iowa Martin Equipment location