Experience the Timeless Beauty Of Vintage Tractors
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
Vintage tractors evoke memories of another time when tractor manufacturers were fiercely competitive and increasingly adaptable, unlike today, when their market may seem immune from such early competition. Yet history teaches us otherwise.
Farmers who use tractor runs or classic vehicles on the roads must abide by certain regulations when operating these veteran machines.
Table Of Contents
John Deere Model B row-crop tractor was initially released for production in 1935 and ran throughout its long production run, lasting until 1963. Designed as a scaled-down version of Model A, it could accommodate two plows at once and was equipped with either wide or narrow front equipment; its fuel options included gasoline and kerosene; during its run, the company made many adjustments and changes to it.
Due to shortages arising from World War II, Deere decided to fit its tractors with radiators using steel cores instead of copper ones, although these new cores proved more efficient at cooling engines than their predecessors.
To address this shortcoming, the company launched a two-piece front pedestal on its BN and BW models to give farmers more flexibility when switching between wide and narrow front equipment, plus choosing between either a Roll-O-Matic rear axle housing or standard rear axle housing configuration for their tractor.
Deere was eager to resume its tractor production after World War II had concluded, so by late 1944, it had begun developing a more up-to-date Model B tractor that could run on either gasoline or kerosene depending on local refinements; furthermore, this version came equipped with electric lights and starting systems as standard features.
Deere also made other changes to their new tractors, including revamping the engine to be more reliable and fuel-efficient while revamping transmission, changing brake shaft design to one piece, replacing Wico C magnetos with stronger Wico Xs, as well as changing brake shaft length to one-piece design and adding one-piece brake shafts for one-piece design brake shafts.
The new version of the Model B tractor quickly gained in popularity. Its powerful engine could often out-pull other antique tractor-pull competitors using earlier model A tractors; moreover, its numerous improvements made it indispensable on many farms – quickly making it one of the most sought-after tractors at that time and still popular today.
John Deere Model D was one of the most iconic farm tractors ever manufactured, produced from 1923-1953 by Deere Industries from 1923 – 1953, as the inaugural multipurpose tractor designed and produced by Deere Industries and released for public sale by them. It helped establish Deere in its industry, with respectable profits being realized as its success paved the way for other models from Deere.
The tractor has had a profound impact on agricultural machinery history, changing American farms from using horses/oxen to internal combustion tractors. With its dedication to simplicity, economy of operation, and durability, its John Deere Model D set a precedent that continues to influence modern multipurpose tractor designs today.
In 1925, the company switched from spoked to solid “disc” flywheels, as spoked ones were more susceptible to cracking, and also replaced fabricated front axles with steel-cleated ones. Later on, their engine was increased in horsepower to enable greater functionality of pulling implements at higher speeds while driving them.
At that time, European corn borer was causing widespread crop losses across North America and requiring financial intervention to deal with it. Kenny owns one such Model D purchased under this program that was the fourth Spoker D ever built and in his collection as evidence of their effectiveness.
These tractors were used to spray insecticides onto corn fields to stop corn borer from attacking crops, with each tractor featuring a special plaque commemorating its contribution and selling for thousands of dollars as rare finds.
The initial 50 Model Ds had 26-inch spoked steering wheels featuring four holes cast into their radiator sides that caused issues when turning. The left front wheel would hit the flywheel, leading to what has come to be known as “Nickel Hole” D tractors that remain highly sought-after by collectors today.
The Allis-Chalmers WD45 is a small hydraulic tractor ideal for multiple tasks. Ideal for beginning farmers, its easy operation and excellent value make this tractor an attractive choice. It is powered by a quiet diesel engine with long-lasting results if properly maintained; furthermore, it features an ergonomic wide front end capable of accommodating various pieces of equipment.
The WD45 two-wheel drive tractor features a sliding gear transmission and wet disc clutch for effortless driving, featuring either four-cylinder gasoline or six-cylinder diesel engines. Attachments such as Allis-Chalmers three-point hitches, or Snap-Coupler systems allow users to easily attach implements. A power steering option further improves driving comfort.
This model was produced from 1953 until 1957 in West Allis, Wisconsin, and is available with both gas and diesel models and an open operator station or Allis-Chalmers Half Cab as an optional extra. A total of 90,382 were built. The Allis-Chalmers WD45 became one of the most beloved tractors of its era thanks to its range of features that set it apart from its competitors.
One of the key features of this tractor was its power-shift rear wheels, which allowed users to easily shift them between narrow positions for plowing and wider ones when cultivating. Furthermore, Allis-Chalmers’s WD45 tractor was the first in its line to feature power steering, which vastly outclassed manual steering.
Allis-Chalmers’s WD45 was distinguished from competitors by its Snap-Coupler system for attaching equipment, featuring a funnel-shaped hitch with a spring-loaded latching mechanism to guide the implement tongue into the spring-loaded latch. This system proved much simpler to use than traditional three-point hitches.
The Allis-Chalmers WD45 can be equipped with various implements, such as a plow and mower. Its three-point hitch can also be used to attach various pieces of farm machinery, such as plows. Furthermore, this vehicle can also be fitted with a bale spike which serves to clear away straw or hay from fields.
This book, featuring stunning color photos and rare archival images, chronicles an array of John Deere classics spanning D, GP, and B models all the way through Waterloo Boy, Dain All-Wheel Drive, and Tractivator models – not forgetting kerosene, gas, diesel LPG, and all-fuel versions too.
Joseph Dain, vice president and head of its patent and experimental department, started designing an efficient small plow tractor in 1914. His design was far ahead of its time, boasting features like gear-driven water pumps, key ignition, shift-on-the-go shifting, and forced lubrication to ensure optimal engine operation – but its $1,500 list price made it unsuitable for farmers.
Late 1919 saw Dain Industries cease production of its All-Wheel Drive because it became too costly and more resources were being diverted toward making wartime equipment; nevertheless, this product proved its success and set off their departure from plow manufacturing roots.
Gnosjo Mekaniska Verkstad (GMV), a Swedish manufacturer, tried to capitalize on their popularity by engineering copies modeled on John Deere models A and B that appeared similar but differed enough so as not to invoke patent infringement lawsuits against John Deere. Their models 25 and 35 resembled these original John Deere models while still remaining unique enough so as not to fall under patent protection issues.
John Deere & Company announced its new tractor naming system in 2008. The first digit represents engine size; subsequent numbers refer to horsepower, while the sixth digit describes special configurations such as tracks for 8RT rubber track tractors.
The latest models from John Deere tractors – the 8295RT, 8320RT, and 8345RT – boast more than 300 horsepower (257 kilowatts). Additionally, their larger cab provides increased comfort for operators, they’re more fuel-efficient than previous models, and they can pull heavier loads – perfect for row crop applications. Two-wheel drive or multi-freight wheel drive (MFWD) versions are available – while MFWD provides greater power at less expense compared to 2WD versions (TWTWT).
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