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Magnum means more for new company

In 1984, the vaunted multinational giant International Harvester stunned farmers by selling its farm machinery line to Tenneco Case. In the aftermath of that consolidation, farmers waited anxiously to see if the new firm could rival the engineering prowess of Big Red.

That answer came in 1987 when Case International (later to be renamed Case IH) introduced an entirely new high-horsepower tractor line. Rather than settle for a simple number designation, Case International tabbed the new line the Magnum tractors, “because Magnum means more. It has more power, more visibility, more of everything else on the market,” said then company president Jerry Green.

Such hype is typical in new production introductions. Yet, those claims were backed up by a large number of advances that quickly established the new line as a serious contender.

The impact of the Magnum introduction was immediate. Tractor sales rebounded, aided by an improved farm economy. The Magnum line quickly became a standard that other manufacturers soon emulated.

True, the Magnums were feature-rich and highly stylish. Case IH would mimic the original Magnum styling for over a decade. What set these tractors apart was their standard 18-speed full powershift transmission. Power shifting trannys were by no means new. Until the Magnums, farmers paid extra for this feature, as standard transmissions were often synchromesh-shift or partial-powershift affairs.

  

Cab Offered Unrivaled Visibility

To further differentiate the Magnums from other machines of the day, Case International engineers located the tractor exhaust stack to the right side of the cab, providing an unobstructed view across the vehicle’s sloping hood for unrivaled visibility.

The four models in the line (130-hp. 7110, 150-hp. 7120, 170-hp. 7130, and 195-hp. 7140) were powered by a new engine built by Consolidated Diesel Corporation, a joint effort of Case and Cummins. The beefy 505-cubic-inch, six-cylinder diesel was turbocharged. Plus, the top three models featured a viscous fan drive (another industry first), which enhanced cooling. 

Case International management was so committed to the new line, which established the new firm as a serious contender, that the company remodeled the old Case tractor factory in Racine, Wisconsin, to the tune of $450 million.

That faith paid off. Today, the Magnum is still the moniker of Case IH’s high-horsepower front-wheel-drive tractor line.

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