This is a love story.
A story of love lost, of love found, and of love renewed. It’s the story of Curtis Lindsey, of Lindsey Construction, and a John Deere 450B Crawler.
Curtis Lindsey owns Lindsey Construction, a Spring, Texas, company started by his father, S. E. Lindsey, in the mid-1940s. The family has been in the industry since his grandfather, C. H. Lindsey, started a sand and gravel company in 1936. Lindsey Construction is now a civil construction company that manages large drainage earthwork contracts.
In 1973, Lindsey’s father bought Lindsey Construction’s first John Deere 450B Crawler. Curtis Lindsey started his career on that dozer, and operated it for over 10 years, until the company sold dozer in the mid-1980s. Love lost.
“Over the years, I kept track of the machine and its owner,” Lindsey said. “About ten years ago, I ran into him at a funeral. Afterward, he told me he still owned it and I made him an offer. Wrote him a check right there on the spot.” Love found.
Restoring a 40-Year-Old Dozer
The crawler dozer was on a farm and hadn’t been run in a number of years. Lindsey rounded up a few men and a haul truck, picked it up, and brought it back to the shop at Lindsey Construction. The people in the shop took the dozer down to the engine and frame, and rebuilt it. They researched the machine and looked for parts on the Internet. It took nearly seven years to restore the dozer from top to bottom, but the hard work paid off. The refurbished John Deere 450B Crawler was rebuilt with more than 95% John Deere parts.
“We have a great group of employees. Lindsey Construction started out with my dad and me, and we’ve grown to a family of over 100 employees. Many of them have been with us for over 15 years,” Lindsey said. “Our mechanics are exceptional. I gave them the challenge of rebuilding the 450B, and they really did a great job. They stripped it down to its frame and rebuilt, refurbished, or replaced each mechanical component.”
At first, Lindsey said he thought they would have problems finding parts for a 40-year-old dozer. They turned to their John Deere dealer, Doggett Construction & Forestry Equipment in Houston. Doggett came through with the parts, either finding them on their own or using the Deere dealer network to find them.
Curtis Lindsey likes to fire up the little dozer that started his career back in 1973 and take it for a spin. The fresh construction yellow paint gleams in the fine Texas sun along with the restored nameplates and still-yellow tracks, bearings, and final gears. The dozer looks like it just rolled out of the John Deere Dubuque Works assembly line in the early 1970s and hit the ground here, some 1,112 miles and more than four decades away. Love renewed.
“We’re kind of like the guys at the factory; when we got finished, we started it up and drove it off the assembly line,” Lindsey said.
Dozer Symbolizes Humble Beginnings
Many boys dream of getting their first car, motorcycle, truck, or even dozer back. Lindsey got his crawler dozer back. He knows, because it has the same serial number — 154349T. But this dozer doesn’t only symbolize the start of his career. This dozer tells a story of 40 years of history between his company and John Deere.
“You know, after operating that old ’73 450B we used for small site work, and looking out over this big development project being carved out by our new 650Js, you can really see how far our company has come over the past few decades,” Lindsey said.
“I’m sentimental about the first equipment we owned. This is part of our humble beginnings. I don’t ever want to lose sight of where we started.”