Four-Wheel Drive Pioneers

  • Cast 435L

    The four-wheel-drive and center articulation features of the Italian-made CAST tractors were not unique for their time. Several North American tractor manufacturers, like Steiger and Versatile, offered similar features on much larger tractors. Yet CAST tractors, like the Model 435L, proved to be years ahead of their time, offering such then unheard of designs like four-wheel steering, braking, and suspension.

  • Fitch Four Drive

    Considered one of the first successful four-wheel-drive tractors on the market, the Fitch Four-Drive remains very much a mystery with collectors. And for good reason, too, as there may be only a dozen Fitch Four-Drives in existence today.

  • Harris Power Horse

    Farmers were given an alternative to crawler tractors in 1952 with the Power Horse design. The Stockton, California-based firm that built the Power Horse equipped the four-wheel-drive tractor with hand brakes that worked through a planetary gear system to engage one or both sides of the tractor producing a tight 5-foot turning radius.

  • Big Bud 747

    In 1977 the Big Bud 747 tractor was built in Havre, Montana. The tractor was built by Ron Harmon and the crew of the Northern Manufacturing Company. The tractor was built to produce 760 horsepower using a 16-cylinder Detroit Diesel engine. The tires were specially made by United Tire Company of Canada and are 8 feet in diameter. When the 1,000-gallon fuel tank is full, the tractor tips the scales at over 100,000 pounds.

  • International 4300

    The giant for its time (300 horsepower), the International 4300 was introduced in 1961 after two years in development. Offered with a companion 10-bottom mounted plow, the 4300 was “stall-built” by the Frank G Hough Company of Libertyville, Illinois (an IH subsidiary).

  • J.J. Case 1200 Traction King

    The 1200 Traction King marked Case’s entry into four-wheel-drive tractors in 1964. Weighing over 17,000 pounds and selling for about $20,000, the 1200 turned out 120 PTO horsepower from a Case-built six-cylinder diesel with 451-cubic-inch displacement.

  • John Deere 8010

    John Deere’s first four-wheel-drive tractor was the 8010. It came out in 1960 – one year ahead of the introduction of Deere’s New Generation of power. Deere rated the 8010 for 215 engine and 150 drawbar horsepower, which was adequate to pull an eight-bottom plow or 31-foot harrow.

  • Massey-Harris GP

    In the late 1920s, Massey-Harris wanted to make a big splash. The company had entered the tractor business just 10 years earlier, significantly later than most of its competitors. The head of Massey, J.N. Shenstone, wanted the firm to make its own unique mark in the world of horsepower.

  • Steiger #1

    In the winter of 1957, a Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, farm family would have been found huddled over a mass of components in their barn trying to create a machine that would give them more oomph in the field that spring. And, in true farmer fashion, John Steiger and his sons, Douglas and Maurice, built their own four-wheel-drive tractor, which would later become a sellable tractor, the Model 1.

  • Versatile D-100

    In 1966, Saskatchewan farm boy Peter Pakosh teams up with brother-in-law Roy Robinson to form the Hydraulic Engineering Company, which would later change its name to Versatile Manufacturing. The firm would introduce its first tractor, the four-wheel-drive Versatile D-100 Diesel, in 1966.

  • Wagner WA-14

    The modern four-wheel-drive age traces its roots back to experimental work conducted by the Wagner Brothers of Portland, Oregon. After 16 years of development, they announced their first four-wheel-drive tractor in 1953: the Model TR-9. Powered by a four-cylinder Cummins 495-cubic-inch diesel rated at 1,800 rpm, the TR-9 turned out 69 drawbar horsepower at the Nebraska Tractor Test.

  • Slide 12

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