John Deere 4440s weren’t perfect

The John Deere 4450 was quite a tractor.

Actually, you could probably say the same thing about the entire 50-series lineup.

Mother Deere’s 50-series lineup was the biggest product line of new tractors in the company’s history. Between 1981 and 1986, the company launched 22 new tractors. I believe 19 of ’em were available in the States, and three were local to Argentina. I think that’s pretty impressive, given that the Farm Crisis was happening at the same time!

At any rate, the 4450 was definitely the bread-and-butter model. It took everything that the American farmer loved about the 4430/4440 models and improved them.

(This is the point where the 4440 guys start lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks…)

Wait, what? The 4440 was the perfect tractor!

There was nothing better! You’re an idiot, Interesting Iron guy!

4440 aren't perfect
TractorZoom.com

I said what I said. 

Here’s why I think they’re a better tractor from a mechanical perspective.

  • Mechanical front-wheel drive
  • 15-speed Powershift
  • Castor Action

Prior to 1983, most (if not all) of Deere’s row-crop front-wheel-drive systems were run off of the hydraulic pump, and they really weren’t all that great.

They were notoriously unreliable, didn’t like to work when it was cold, and they were spendy to maintain. With the introduction of the 50-series tractors, the company implemented a mechanical system that used gears and a driveshaft. It was a lot more reliable, less expensive to maintain, and unlike the hydraulic system, built to work all the time if needed.

The 15-speed Powershift was, in most cases, better for fieldwork. It gave the operator more gearing options to more effectively use the engine’s power (i.e., less “in between” issues than an eight-speed). Furthermore, because the gearing wasn’t spaced so far apart, shifts were a little less clunky. (Come on 30/40-series guys, you gotta admit that they shift pretty hard…)

John Deere 4450
TractorZoom.com

Lastly, Castor Action. Castor Action was a system that tilted the kingpin on the front axle 13° so you could turn sharper. No more taking 3 acres to get the tractor turned around. It was faster and more efficient because it used less fuel. It wasn’t perfect, but it definitely saved farmers time and money.

Anyway, I’m sure the 4440 crowd would argue with me until the cows come home, but in my opinion, the 4450 was the better machine. The 4440 was definitely more iconic, but it did have its shortcomings.

Farmers seemed to think so, too. While the older tractors may have moved more units, the 4450 still accounted for one out of every five tractors sold in the 50-series lineup. Hard to argue with sales numbers like that!

So, why did I choose this one for this week’s Interesting Iron? Because it’s probably one of the nicest 4450s you can buy on the market right now. I talked with Riley Sieren, the auctioneer who’s hosting this estate auction, about this tractor earlier this week. He told me that Marvin, the man who owned this tractor, was the only owner. He bought it new from R.J. Schott’s John Deere dealership in Sigourney, Iowa, in 1986.

Since then, he only put 5,925 hours on it. He also told me that Marvin took a lot of pride in his equipment; he always kept it in the shed, and he was quite particular about keeping his tractors spotless inside and out.

John Deere 4450 side view
TractorZoom.com

If ever there was a cream puff, this is it. Go check out the listing. There’s a ton of great photos and Riley took the time to capture the details. I’m pretty confident in saying that this is one of the cleanest all-original John Deere 4450 MFWDs on auction I have seen all year long.

Honestly, I could see this tractor hitting $45,000 to $50,000 before the hammer drops on December 3.

I looked at some of the trends using our Iron Comps data to see what these were doing and boy, these 50-series tractors are continuing to climb in value. They’re tough tractors that are really handy on a farm of nearly any size. They’ll do nearly all the tasks that a big tractor will do, while still being handy enough to maneuver around in tight spaces. Furthermore, you can still work on ’em!

Side note: There’s a ton of great equipment on this sale. Lots of good, one-owner, well-maintained green stuff.

Ryan Roossinck
TractorZoom.com

Hi! I’m Ryan, and I love tractors. It doesn’t matter if it’s a showpiece, an oddball, or seen its share of life ... if it’s unique and it’s listed by one of our auctioneer partners at Tractor Zoom, I’m going to show it off a little bit! This equipment is all up for auction RIGHT NOW so you can bid on them! I think they’re cool, and I hope you will, too. This is Interesting Iron!

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Leaf blower light attachment for cleaning at night

leaf blower light I attached an LED headband light to the end of my leaf blower last year. The idea came to me during harvest because I needed a way to still... read more

Machinery Talk

Most Recent Poll

Have you been attending webinars and virtual events to learn from ag product and service providers?