About Robert Vandaele

Robert Vandaele (born 1936) has been fascinated by mechanics since childhood.
His father Marcel was a farmer and had his own blacksmith shop on the farm.
Shortly after the Second World War he bought an army jeep and in 1946 a new tractor, a Case VA 18 hp, on petroleum.
The tractor came over from the United States with the Marshall Plan. It was the first new tractor in Oostrozebeke.
At the age of 10, Robert drove this tractor.

There was also a Claeys threshing machine on the farm, which was powered by this tractor.
That same year Robert had to go to boarding school in a very strict Episcopal College in Veurne, where he started Latin studies after primary education, which was against his will. Latin studies were interrupted to switch to technical agricultural education in the agricultural school in Avelgem. After finishing his studies in 1952 he started as a helper on the farm.

Then the first peck threshers came to drive off the harvest and the "contract work" began.
In the forge on the court, Robert built his first muck spreaders and started a contracting company to export muck.
The manure was loaded with a self-built inverted Case D tractor with a hydraulic loading shovel.

Robert followed many additional courses in evening courses and training institute.
In order to have a good command of the French language, he followed "Enseignement par Correspondence" in St. Quentin (France) where he obtained the diploma of "Chef de Garage".

After first starting in trading and overhauling second-hand tractors, the first new tractor was sold in 1958:
a Fordson Dextra, and he became a Fordson dealer.
There were many acquisitions that went to scrap, including a Lanz Bulldog HR9 for 9000 Belgian Francs. Conservation and collection was not yet an issue at that time.

In 1968 the dealership of Fiat tractors was founded.
The love for old technology continued to follow him and so he started collecting tractors together with his brother Roland.

The peak was around 1980, at that time he had 90 pieces in his collection.

In 1992 Robert left the business to his son Carl Vandaele and daughter Inge Vandaele.

In 1983, Robert and Daniel Bonte founded the P.C.L.T. in Roeselare the "Oude Trekker Club".
The club grew in membership every year and enthusiastically participated in harvest festivals, tours, demonstrations, and so on.

Around 1995 it was decided to collect and restore only Fiat and Someca tractors. Everything else was disposed of, only the Brouhot locomobile and the Titan tractor were retained, both then beautifully restored.

The collection was housed in 2006 in an old factory building, which was completely restored at Stationsstraat 131,
next to the company Vandaele Machinery.