Revolutionizing Farming: Precision Classic Tractors
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
Today’s modern tractor allows families to keep their lawns and gardens tidy while helping farmers be more precise when planting, spraying, or watering crops.
Ertl has been producing high-quality classic tractors for 14 years now, and this collection makes an essential addition to collectors’ shelves or is ideal as a gift for anyone with an interest in tractors.
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In the 1930s, Allis-Chalmers Model B became an instant classic among small farms due to its efficient farming power and attractive styling by famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens – it even received rave reviews for being suitable enough for church.
Allis-Chalmers’ B tractor featured a slim backbone frame, yet its 1,500-lb drawbar pulling capacity rivaled that of much larger and more rugged competitors. Production ended in 1957 after over 125,000 Bs had been sold to customers.
Allis-Chalmers was well aware of what they were achieving with the Model B in terms of engineering: narrow for single-row equipment and high clearance, as well as being cost-effective (i.e., less than the price of owning horses!). Finally, Allis-Chalmers needed their machine to be economical — meaning its costs must fall below that of owning horses!
Allis-Chalmers saw its tractor become increasingly popular and began adding additional features, including an adjustable front axle and hydraulic lift that allowed operators to lower it for maintenance or repairs.
The B was the world’s first tractor sold exclusively with pneumatic tires without offering steel wheel as an option and also produced in Britain starting from 1947 – initially at Allis-Chalmers Totton plant near Southampton before later at Essendine in Leicestershire where all components for its construction came from nearby sources like Bean Industries castings, Rubery Owen sheet metal work and ENV or Moss transmissions sourced locally.
Today, Allis-Chalmers Model Bs have become highly desirable collector’s items as well as still being widely used on farms throughout the U.S. Many examples can still be seen at events like Newby Hall Rally in Yorkshire where this 1946 Allis-Chalmers B can be seen preserved and can even be auctioned off as part of Southeast Warren County FFA fundraiser in Liberty Center, Iowa an hour south of Des Moines on October 19, 2020 to benefit their operating budget – this event offers both an outstanding cause and the chance to acquire classic American-made machinery at auction!
Deere engineers saw an opportunity in the loosening grip of the Great Depression on farming to craft a small tractor unlike any seen before, drawing inspiration from popular truck-garden models like B and creating something simple yet affordable that could perform tasks normally carried out by horses or walk-behind garden tractors. They eventually modified existing model Y into the LA in this endeavor.
The LA was distinguished from its predecessors by employing a two-cylinder vertically operating engine and three-speed transmission with rear PTO capability, along with its relatively affordable price point. These features led to its success; over 12,500 LA tractors were sold from 1941-1946 alone!
Like its predecessors, the LA was constructed using tube steel frames, featuring standard rubber tires on its front wheels and removable rims on the rear wheels. Weighing approximately 2,200 lbs and boasting a top speed of 9mph. Instrumentation included an oil pressure gauge as well as an amperes gauge; optional equipment included a light switch and headlamp.
This particular 1947 Model LA was purchased by its current owner in 2009 and used for hay rides and transport around his Vermont property. According to reports, its engine and transmission are both working effectively, having recently been serviced.
This LA is presented in the classic green and yellow motif of its time, its frame appearing straight, its cylinder heads painted correctly, and featuring power-mark agricultural tires at both ends – including one power-mark up front, four 4.25×24 tires in back, individual rear brakes, Continental LUC 1.3L two-cylinder gasoline unit engine, 540rpm rear PTO drive with a 3-speed manual transmission as well as three-speed manual transmission; additionally the seller provides both clean titles and bills of sale documents.
John Deere had achieved tremendous success producing agricultural equipment over many years and had become the number one manufacturer of plows, yet they lacked a tractor to complete their product lineup despite intense pressure from dealers for one to be added to their equipment line.
John Deere’s board approved its general-purpose tractor, known as the Model D, in 1924, to great acclaim from customers and was met with great success on the market. It featured an advanced power take-off system to power mowers or combines and an ingenious hydraulic lift system for raising implements – plus, its wide front axle was designed by industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss!
Deere followed its Model D tractor up with another smaller option known as the Model B. Although slightly smaller in size than its larger cousin, the Model B offered all of the same features found in its larger brother and quickly became popular among small farmers.
Deere hired Henry Dreyfuss of New York City to revamp its agricultural equipment, such as its tractors. Dreyfuss revamped their frame, engine, and overall appearance for a more modern aesthetic, resulting in the four-gear forward Model B tractor that farmers could use to pull two-bottom plows, cultivate fields, or run mounted corn pickers or shellers off its belt drive.
At the dawn of World War II, Deere kept pace with Ford and Ferguson by developing its own innovative tractor – equipped with three-point hitches to allow operators to raise, lower, or adjust implement depth – using three levers on either end of its drawbar and belt drivetrains. Their response? Deere responded with an impressive 45-horsepower drawbar motor and 50-horsepower belt drive unit – giving Deere an edge in competition against them both.
As the postwar era started, Deere introduced their Model M with the Touch-O-Matic hydraulic control system for lifting and dropping implements – this being the first tractor ever equipped with this type of feature. Deere used an alphabetic numbering system as a benchmark for capability level and price: D was considered basic while R was considered a high-end model. Later that same year Deere made the announcement of its transition towards four and six-cylinder engines for its tractor models.
If you’re in search of power, comfort, and usability this spring, the John Deere Model Z may be just what you’re searching for. Deere’s latest zero-turn mower was built specifically with commercial use in mind – offering greater power, rugged construction, and a rollover bar than its residential Z300 series counterpart.
John Deere has designed its new Model Zs with a 23 horsepower V-twin engine fitted with its EFI system and cast iron sleeves to increase durability and reduce maintenance time. A new operator station provides exceptional visibility forward and to the trim side of the deck while featuring ergonomically designed controls that offer ease of operation and ergonomic seating positions for operator comfort and control. Adjustable twin lever controls give operators multiple positioning options for maximum comfort and control.
John Deere introduced several updates to its Commercial Z900 ZTrak lineup for 2021, including machine upgrades and a new deck option. Now offering spoked wheels for all mower deck sizes with cast iron spindles for enhanced durability and easier maintenance, plus quick-release belt covers that can be removed with just one corner lift and rotation of their respective machines- no tools necessary!
Other enhancements include the inclusion of a 54-inch Mulch on Demand mower deck to the Z900M model, with 27 horsepower to deliver a power mulch solution in tough conditions. Furthermore, this machine now comes equipped with both a cargo tray and tool carrier for more onboard storage space – with one providing operators with easy access to handheld string trimmers and other hand-held yard tools while another can mount standard lawn care attachments onboard for quick and convenient access.
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