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Tractor or Jeep?
by Steve Nelson
My father-in-law purchased this jeep-like lawn mower back in 1968. He says he paid $1600.00 for it, which was big bucks back then for a mower. My own father bought a VW bug the same year for the same price. Well it may have seemed extravagant then, however who knows what ever happened to the bug, while the roof mower is still doing it's job.
I use it to mow every week or so. It's so unusual that people often do a double take driving by when I'm near the road. My neighbor told me that he had heard that there were a couple of web-sites dedicated to old tractors and lawn mowers where people had written in looking for information about mowers like mine. So I did some looking and found this site and one other.
I'm including a couple of recent photos. I'd be happy to send more information if anyone is interested. I'm also in the process of finding out more about the company that built these unusual mowers. One story is that one of the sons of "Mr. Roof" came back from a stint in the service (Viet Nam?) and designed the Palomino to look like a jeep. Sounds like a plausible theory.
The Roof Mfg. Co. was in Pontiac, IL and is now out of business but people there still remember quite a lot about the company. I've been in touch with some who used to work there in the 60's. I'm very pleased that there is interest in this good old mower of mine (actually it's on semi-permanent loan from my father-in-law).
In the past whenever something would break or wasn't running too well, I would envy my neighbors' new John Deere lawn tractors... now I consider my unusual mower a priceless antique! I'm thinking about fully restoring it to it's original state. So I'll be looking for a few parts I've been getting along without (stock muffler & tailpipe, blade clutch, stuff like that). A paint job wouldn't hurt either, but it's never been babied and this is the original paint.
This thing was made of some pretty heavy gage steel. We often remind my wife of the time she was hurrying through a mowing job (the thing will do about 20 mph) and accidentally backed into the corner of the garage doing MAJOR damage to their garage! The mower??? not a scratch! This thing has real heavy duty bumpers! So far, although I've found some people on the internet who have heard of Roof Palomino’s, I have not heard of another one that anyone owns, or even remembers ever seeing. I'd be interested in any other stories or pictures anyone else has. Until then, look for me on Saturday mornings, I'll be out there!