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Wide World of Crawler Tractors
Offering up to 30 drawbar horsepower, the Model M Allis-Chalmers crawler tractor was introduced in 1932 packing a 300 cubic-inch Allis-built engine. This variation of the M was designed for orchard use and featured covered tracks and a low operator’s station.
B.F. Avery A
The tractor actually got its start with Cleveland Tractor Company, which built and sold the lithe machine as the Cletrac General GG. In 1943, it redesigned the tractor, introduced it as the Model A, and gave it a very affordable $835 price tag. Power for the A came from a four-cylinder Hercules flathead Model IXB-3 engine rated at 1,400 rpm.
Bates Steel Mule
The advantages of the Half-track design, rear tracks that provided great traction, and front steering wheels for easy maneuverability, caught the attention of the Joliet Oil Tractor Company, which merged with Bates Machinery & Tractor Company of Lansing, Michigan, in 1919.
C.L. Best 30
The chucky 7,400 pound model 30 had a rugged engine and was powered by a beef engine featuring four 43/4x61/2 inch cylinder that were cast separately. That engine generated a rated 193/4 horsepower or a maximum 241/2 horsepower at the drawbar. The C.L. Best Gas Traction Company and their competitor Holt Manufacturing merged in 1925 to create the Caterpillar Tractor Company.
Caterpillar established itself as the king of crawler companies with the introduction of the D-Series of tractors in the late 1930s. All three crawlers utilized a two-cylinder gas “pony” engine to start their diesel powerplants. Selling for $3,600, the D6 featured an adjustable track width and a four-speed transmission.
Cletrac W 12-20
In the early 1910s, car manufacturer Roland White, Cleveland Tractor Company, knew farmers needed an advanced but affordable crawler tractor. One of the major attractions of the Model W was certainly its price. It sold for $1,385. Consider that the Fordson first sold for $785 in 1918.
Ford 4040 Industrial
Based off of Ford Model 1801 industrial tractor, the Model 4040 was produced for a short time in the early 1960s. The adaptation was made using a Caterpillar Model D2 undercarriage and the rear end off of a Ford Model 600. Power came from a 172-cubic-inch gas four-cylinder that was also in use in Ford’s 800 Series tractors.
Holt Caterpillar 75
The Holt organization brought out the Model 75 in 1913 to offer more power. The 75 also served a secondary role when the crawler, along with the Model 120, was employed by the military to tow artillery to the World War I battlefields. Inspired military engineers mounted cannons on track machines, which gave birth to the modern tank.
IHC McCormick-Deering T20
It was inevitable that International Harvester, with it huge line of tractors, farm machinery and vehicles, would offer a crawler tractor. Just over 15,000 Model T-20s were built from 1931 to 1939 making it a moderate success in the world of crawlers.
John Deere 430
The 430 C, like the previous Deere crawler versions, was an adaptation of an existing tire tractor model. The model 430C, produced between 1958 and 1960, was offered in gasoline, distillate and LP-gas versions. Equipped with a 4-speed transmission, the 430C generated 29.7 belt and 24 drawbar HP.
The OC-6 was introduced in 1953 and was derived from the Model 77 wheel tractor. It was powered with a six-cylinder, Oliver-built engine and was offered in four track treads of 32, 42, 60 and 68 inches. Standard track widths were 8 inches but both 10- and 12-inch track widths were available.
Though small, the Perrin Terra-Trac-Tor was anything but a weakling. The unique crawler was popular on the West Coast, and it turned out enough power to pull a one-bottom, 14-inch plow. It offered brakes, a PTO, and those distinctive 51⁄2-inch-wide steel tracks with deep cleats.
Crawler tractors and their rise to the top.