Modern Tractors Vs. Vintage: Who Wins?
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
No matter if you come from farming roots or just have an interest in antique mechanics, tractors make for an interesting hobby and provide an engaging activity to do with children.
Vintage tractors require minimal resources for maintenance and repairs, making this hobby appealing to both budget-minded folks as well as experienced mechanics alike. Here are a few pointers that should help get you underway with this fun hobby!
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The Ford 8N tractor is one of the most widely known vintage tractors ever created and manufactured between 1947 and 1954. Still in use today by some farmers, its four-speed transmission and helical cut gears make for easy attachment of attachments such as mowers, blades, scoops, chippers, plows, and more.
The tractor is affordable to repair, and parts are readily available. Furthermore, its charm and appeal for collectors make it highly sought-after. One old-timer I talked with owned two and used them extensively on his 350 acres of cotton, chiles, lettuce, onions, and pecan trees during farming season, washing and servicing them every Saturday. According to him, these mini tractors could do anything needed on his land – that made them even more special to him!
In 1948, the 8N was upgraded with a 4-speed transmission and increased drawbar and PTO horsepower. Furthermore, a new engine oil pump with longer gears and an improved carburetor were installed for more efficient functioning. Its appearance changed further with bright red paint on lighter gray sheet metal, earning it its nickname of the “Red Belly.”
Proofmeter and side-mounted distributor were also part of its features, while one major change for 1949 was replacing its shift handle from one piece lever with three uncovered steel spokes with a threaded knob equipped with a small forged handle that screws on.
An 8N tractor’s hydraulic system is powered through its PTO shaft, connected by a piston pipe to power takeoff with control linkage and controlled via control linkage. While not as powerful as modern tractor hydraulic systems, an 8N can still prove helpful on smaller properties and help get tasks completed more quickly than using your feet solely to accomplish tasks.
As soon as deciding on a Ford 8N tractor, one thing to keep in mind is its lack of live hydraulic or PTO features. Although this could pose issues for some buyers, most Model A and early Ford fans don’t find this an issue since they are used to working with older tractors that lack modern technological advantages.
As the Great Depression hit, farmers who had never owned tractors before turned to John Deere for assistance. It nearly went out of business; however, thanks to an order from Soviet Russia, it managed to remain viable.
By the end of World War II, Deere & Company had produced numerous models to meet the emerging tractor market. One popular model was the 9N tractor; made between 1942 and 1947, it served a multitude of farm tasks efficiently and successfully.
The 9N was designed with a rear PTO that could be used for three-point and towed implement operation and featured a Ferguson hitch and hydraulic lift option. Furthermore, due to wartime production restrictions, some later models were made with all-steel wheels instead of rubber ones and did not feature battery-powered ignition systems – these tractors must, therefore, be started manually instead.
Deere & Company made this model the first with redesigned hood and fender designs and continued making improvements and additions until finally replacing it with another version in 1979. By then, it had generated over two million sales!
John Deere 9N mowers offer premium features and excellent resale value, making them an excellent choice for home lawn care. Their premium mower deck can handle a range of tasks from mulching to bagging, while their easy maneuverability and powerful engines deliver exceptional performance.
Established in 1837, John Deere & Company produces agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment as well as financial services. Products offered by John Deere include tractors, mowers, utility vehicles, diesel and gas engines, as well as parts manufacturing services, including maintenance/warranty service contracts for its equipment worldwide. John Deere’s headquarters are in Moline, Illinois, while plants exist in Sanaswadi Pune, India; Shanghai, China, as well as numerous distribution centers across both America and around the globe.
Irish engineer Harry Ferguson invented the Ferguson system of attaching a plow to a tractor in 1926. It allowed for more rigid coupling between tractor and implement, thus decreasing time spent moving it for different soil conditions and opening up more implement options than were available previously. This innovative solution not only increased farming productivity but also made the use of tractors more cost-effective for average farmers used to horse-drawn plows.
Ferguson had a keen interest in agriculture and had extensively experimented with various attachment methods for his tractor and implement. After seeing the benefits of a more rigid attachment, he used his automobile technology to adopt a more rigid connection. To lower costs, he began production at two locations: Cork in Ireland and Dagenham in England – eventually, the Ferguson tractor would become known worldwide by the 1930s.
Henry Ford was inspired by the Ferguson-Brown model and, following consultation with Ferguson, signed a basic handshake agreement in which Ford would produce tractors using the Ferguson system while Ferguson would market these machines. Unfortunately for Ferguson, however, this arrangement did not fit his business model, so in 1938, he started his own tractor company, which eventually merged with Massey Harris of Canada to become what is now Massey Ferguson.
After Henry Ford’s death, his grandson Henry Ford II, took control of Ford Motor Company. One of the things his grandfather had put in place that he began dismantling was the Ferguson Agreement; Ferguson felt as though it was more of a handshake agreement and did not believe Ford wanted to market its tractors properly.
Ferguson TO30 and later Ferguson TE20 models began taking market share away from Ford 8N models. This caused great discomfort at Ferguson company; therefore, they filed suit against Ford Motor Co. to restore some market share. Ford eventually discontinued 8N production in 1948.
Case IH’s legacy dates back to 1842 with the founding of its flagship product – the tractor. Today, Case IH offers innovative solutions for both farming and construction applications worldwide.
Case IH has long been at the forefront of agricultural technology, from its revolutionary Quadtrac to the world’s most advanced combine harvester. Furthermore, Case IH offers an array of precision agriculture tools designed to assist farmers in managing resources effectively while decreasing nutrient, water, and chemical usage.
Case IH provides more than just high-quality agriculture equipment; they also boast industry-leading technology and support services. Their products are tailored to meet the needs of professional farmers around the globe and are backed up by an international dealer network and field personnel living close to customers in each community.
Throughout its history, this company has demonstrated its ability to innovate through producing award-winning products like Quadtrac tractors – the first with four separate tracks on one undercarriage to improve ground compaction and traction while protecting chassis and cab from immense forces caused by tracks.
Case IH offers several other innovative machines in addition to the Quadtrac, such as Axial-Flow 250 series combines and Trident 5550 liquid/dry combination applicator. AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology and Austoft sugarcane harvesters demonstrate this dedication.
At 2022 CNH Industrial Tech Days, Case IH demonstrated its latest innovations from its growing technology portfolio and announced plans to develop alternative propulsion systems that promote sustainability and power.
Hills Agriculture is proud to provide our Asheville, North Carolina, Greensboro, and Greenville, South Carolina locations with a comprehensive lineup of Case IH equipment. Offering Farmall, Vestrum, and Maxxum series tractors from 35-102 PTO horsepower for you to choose from – visit one near you now to discover more of its features and benefits!
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