Reviving Old Tractors: Can They Still Do the Job?
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
Versatile tractors are known for their powerful engines and rugged designs, making them well-suited to tackle any job with ease. Versatile has been around since 1966 when Saskatchewan farm boy Peter Pakosh and Roy Robinson founded them to produce grain augers, then progressed onto sprayers and harrow bars.
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Versatile tractors are known for their dependability and durability. Easy to operate and maintain, versatile tractors make for reliable farming operations at large-scale farms while being more affordable than other options on the market. Unfortunately, versatile tractors don’t meet all people’s requirements when it comes to advanced features, yet they still contain some excellent capabilities worth considering when selecting one for your next farm project.
Versatile introduced its four-wheel drive tractor line in the mid-1970s. From small to large models, these machines featured Cummins engine technology with CAT strong powershift transmissions designed for the toughest jobs; narrow frame (405-460) and large frame (520-620) models were available with different horsepower ratings.
Versatile Industries was established by Peter Pakosh and Roy Robinson of Winnipeg, Canada, in 1963. At first, they specialized in grain auger design before expanding into sprayers and harrow bars. Later, it was sold to Ford-New Holland in 1987 for use in rebranding as Ford-New Holland tractors while keeping its historic name.
Since then, the company has continued to evolve, producing front-wheel assist tractors with various specifications and features. Their MFWD tractors feature powerful Cummins QSL9 engines coupled with smooth 16×9 powershift transmissions for increased transmission reliability and class-leading cabs featuring over 73 square feet of glass for increased visibility.
MFWD tractors feature an expansive and comfortable operator’s station with a large windshield and front/rear intermittent wiper/washer systems. A 10″ HD monitor comes standard, which can be programmed to quickly display hydraulic settings for quick reference; additionally, this screen supports up to two external cameras for added safety.
The Versatile tractor series places great emphasis on ergonomics and functionality, with its new cab offering increased comfort while the right-hand console offers fingertip control of all its working functions. Furthermore, new operators should find learning their controls easy; plus, its suspension has been designed to stay on course, helping distribute loads evenly while relieving stress from hydraulic systems.
Peter Pakosh of Canada is widely credited as being the inventor of the first bi-directional tractor. Using an uncomplicated design and an innovative concept of swiveling the operator seat to enable easy viewing behind them, Peter was able to quickly maneuver equipment such as sprayers, harrows, and swathers without difficulty – the predecessors to what would later become Versatile Industries. This innovation would later form the basis of their business.
Versatile has long been revered for its high horsepower four-wheel drive tractors since 1966, especially its D100 and G100 models, which featured Ford or Chrysler 6-cylinder engines that produced 100 horsepower each and cost significantly less than competing four-wheel drives. Their simple but rugged designs appealed to farmers seeking reliable but cost-efficient four-wheel drives for their farms.
Versatile was known for being at the forefront of innovation. In 1977, they released the Model 150 bi-directional tractor equipped with rear Power Take Off (PTO) shafts for three-point linkage attachments and featuring a revolutionary concept: swiveling operator’s seats that provided a greater field of view for drivers – quickly making Versatile an industry leader for 4WD high horsepower tractors.
Versatile MFWD series tractors feature a Cummins QSL9 engine mated to a 16×9 powershift transmission that offers smooth gear shifting. Available with five horsepower ratings: 275hp, 295hp, 310hp, 335hp, and 365hp, this series’ cab boasts over 73 square feet of window glass for enhanced visibility.
These tractors were created with regular maintenance in mind, which is essential for prolonging equipment lifespan and minimizing downtime on farms. Service points are strategically positioned throughout each machine for quick and easy servicing; their hydraulic and fuel sight gauges provide easy reading, while their wide opening side panels allow easy servicing access.
Versatile CBX provides farmers with an advanced telematics system for remotely monitoring their tractors, providing valuable data such as their location, how they’re being operated, fuel levels, maintenance alerts, and alerts – giving farmers greater efficiencies and improved productivity through better operational decisions.
Old versatile tractors were built for comfort. Their large cab provides a clear view of the field while allowing ample space for operators. This helps maximize efficiency while reducing fatigue and increasing productivity. Controls are easy to understand, while the cab features excellent ventilation to prevent fogging. This tractor is ideal for performing multiple tasks, including mowing, baling, and material handling, as it features a low gear that enables slow-speed operation. This tractor is powered by a Cummins engine and can be driven in either forward or reverse mode. Equipped with either powershift transmission (CVT), two-speed range PTO capability, or both – plus up to five attachments! And featuring six three-quarter inch couplers and case drains for hydraulic operation – the machine offers great versatility and efficiency for everyday tasks.
Peter Pakosh, founder of Versatile, was an ardent religious man who put family and faith first. With an interest in farming that ran deep, Peter also sought to make life easier for rural farmers by making durable yet easy-to-maintain tractors available to them. When designing his early versatile tractors he kept these needs in mind when designing them; all early versatiles were specifically tailored to address rural farmer requirements for smooth running.
Versatile’s early four-wheel drive models were simple yet cost-effective four-wheel drives; these tractors proved popular among Canadian farmers as they allowed them to cover more acres in less time. Soon after their introduction, Versatile expanded its product offering with self-propelled augurs and field sprayers, eventually moving from Toronto to Winnipeg closer to its main customers — Canadian grain farmers.
Versatile first introduced its articulated four-wheel drive tractor in the 1960s; it featured a 100-horsepower engine and cost less than $10,000 to purchase. Versatile continued improving their tractors over time; by 1970, they introduced bi-directional models designed specifically for loader duties and swathing purposes – the Model 150 proved popular until being upgraded with a greater horsepower range as well as PTOs and three-point linkages on both ends – the Model 256 was later unveiled.
Peter Pakosh was a man of faith and family, prioritizing rural farmers when designing Versatile equipment. Furthermore, his tractor prices remained reasonable so as to help rural farmers afford both buying and maintaining his machines.
Versatile was one of the pioneering companies to mass produce articulated four-wheel drive tractors in their early days, beginning with models like D100 and G100 with either Ford or Chrysler engines capable of 100 horsepower each. Versatile advertised these machines as being capable of doing more work in a day than other farm equipment – something many buyers found appealing.
Versatile tractors are well-known for their power and reliability, featuring large cabs designed for comfort and ease of use as well as simple controls designed for use without extensive training – an excellent choice for anyone who’s searching for their first tractor without spending the time or money learning how to operate more complex machines.
Versatile tractors feature many features to increase productivity and enhance operation efficiency. You’re sure to find one with enough power for any task at hand without breaking down, whether narrow-frame four-wheel drive tractors are chosen with rear loaders or front loaders as attachments or vice versa.
Versatile tractors can handle every task needed on your farm, from mowing and baling to transport. Their spacious cab offers plenty of legroom, wide windows for clear visibility of fields, and an ergonomic semi-active seat designed to make long days in the field comfortable and hassle-free. Plus, new versions feature Cummins engines with heavy-duty CAT powershift transmissions, which allow shifting on the fly.
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