Wide World of Crawler Tractors


    After Allis-Chalmers acquired Monarch Tractor Corporation in 1928, the firm cranked out a line of crawler tractors including the Model M. Offering up to 30 drawbar horsepower, the M was introduced in 1932 packing a 300-cubic-inch Allis-built engine.

  • B.F. AVERY A

    This crawler adaptation (likely a custom-built design using Cletrac tracks) of B.F. Avery’s Model A testified to the popularity of the tractor on small farms and vineyards. The tractor actually got its start with Cleveland Tractor Company, which built and sold the lithe machine as the Cletrac General GG.


    Half-track crawlers first started to appear on the farm in the 1910s followed by appearances on the battlefield in World War 1. The advantages of this design (rear tracks that provided great traction; front steering wheels for easy maneuverability) caught the attention of the Joliet Oil Tractor Company of Joliet, Illinois, who first built the Steel Mule as early as 1915.

  • C.L. BEST 30

    Many of the design features still in use on modern crawler tractors were first featured on the best’s tracklayer models. The C.L. Best Gas Traction Company was also famous for producing rugged engines. The chunky 7,400-pound model 30 was no exception in this regard and was powered by a beefy engine featuring four 43/4x6.5-inch cylinders that were cast separately.


    Caterpillar established itself as the king of crawler companies with the introduction of the D-Series of tractors. The model D6 was one of five diesel-powered crawlers brought on the market in the late 1930s. Earlier in that decade, Caterpillar became the first company to sell a diesel-powered crawler.

  • CLETRAC W 12-20

    In the early 1910s, car manufacturer Roland White saw an opportunity to participate in the ever-expanding tractor market. But White wasn’t satisfied with building just another tractor. He’d experimented with a wheeled tractor when it occurred to him that what farmers needed – particularly Midwestern farmers – was a crawler tractor, powerful but light, advanced but affordable.


    Based on the Ford Model 1801 industrial tractor, the Model 4040 was produced for a short time in the early 1960s. Actually, the adaptation was performed for Ford by the Oregon-based Holt Manufacturing using a Caterpillar Model D2 undercarriage and the rear end off from a Ford Model 600.


    By the early 1910s, Holt was offering four different tiller-styled Caterpillar models ranging in size from 18 to 60 horsepower. But farmers wanted even more power. So the Holt organization brought out the model 75 in 1913.


    It was inevitable that International Harvester, with its huge line of tractors, farm machinery, and vehicles, would offer a crawler tractor. The firm had been experimenting with a crawler tractor as early as 1918. By 1928, it was time to make a commitment. So the TracTracTor was introduced and later replaced with the T-20.

  • JOHN DEERE 430

    The 430 C, like the previous Deere crawler versions, was an adaptation of an existing tire tractor model. The model 430C traces its roots back to the Lindeman Brothers of Yakima, Washington, who added tracks to a model GP Deere to create the GPO crawler.


    Lennox Industries’ fame rests on its line of house furnaces. But back in the 1960s, the Marshalltown, Iowa, firm began looking for ways to diversify its business. So the company created the Kittytrack 600, a pint-size garden crawler. Although small in stature, its 8-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine made the Kittytrack a powerhouse in the garden.


    The OC-6, shown here as a rare high-crop model, was introduced in 1953 and derived from the model 77 wheel tractor. It was powered with a six-cylinder, Oliver-built engine (offered in either gas or diesel versions) and 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. Neither was the Perrin short on features.

  • Slide 9

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