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The Earsplitting Tractor
Well, if you believe the weather forecast models, we’re in for a heck of a heat wave over the next week or two. Being a fairly well-insulated fella, I’m not sure how excited I am about that! I’m sure I’ll manage . . . hopefully your crops will, too. I’ve heard it’s getting pretty dry in parts of the Midwest. Hoping for good growing weather wherever you are!
This week on Interesting Iron, we’ve got three good ones. One tractor that should’ve been sold with a set of earplugs and a half gallon of Excedrin.
Another tractor that is a real rare Ford, which somehow got over here from England.
Finally, I’m featuring an absolute cream puff of a 4455 that lives near Iowa City! Let’s get to it!
The Earsplitting Deere
1959 was a hectic year for John Deere. Thee company was six years into its biggest project ever – the New Generation tractors. These tractors were radically different, and nothing (not even the green and yellow paint) was sacred. Nearly every single operating system needed redesigned, and that meant that it was an all-hands-on-deck kind of deal.
Still, Deere needed to keep selling equipment, and farmers were still looking for improvements in the two-cylinder lineup. When Deere needed to buy itself some development time on the New Generation series, it chose to redesign the 430 for the 1959 model year. Deere reworked a few things on the tractor, but when it came to the powerplant, the company couldn’t pull engineers away from the New Gen motor development to tweak the two-cylinder just as a stop gap. A creative solution was needed; and the company wanted a small diesel motor (the 430 didn’t have one). So, Deere called General Motors in Detroit and worked a deal to use a supercharged two-stroke model 2-53 motor. Presto! A “new” (ish) tractor called the 435 AND one with a small diesel motor!
Two birds, one stone!
The 2-53 Detroits are reliable little motors that make somewhere in the neighborhood of 33 hp. on the PTO shaft. They’re also INSANELY loud, especially if they’re straight-piped. Fortunately, this one isn’t, so it might be a little more manageable. Still, if I ever meet the buyer, I’ll give them a fresh set of earplugs and a big bottle of Excedrin!
This 435 lives just north of Philly, and our friends at Alderfer Auction are handling the auction. The owner recently restored it, and it’s in great shape! The spin-out wheels don’t appear to have any wear on them, either. They should work about as slick as advertised. The 435 was among the last two-cylinder Deeres ever built; and with only about 4,600 of ’em out there, they’re not all that common! I’d imagine this one probably gets close to the $10K mark.
A Rare Roadless 95
It seems like there are more unique and interesting Ford conversions out there than with any other tractor brand. Most of them never made it over to American soil, though, which makes this one, a Roadless 95, all the more interesting! Goodrich Auction Service in Newark Valley, New York, sends this fairly rare tractor home to a new owner on Friday, July 10, and I’m interested to see what it does.
The Roadless 95 started as a Ford 5000. However, before selling it, the Roadless Traction Company made some “minor” modifications to it. The British company stretched the frame about 6 feet so they could stuff a 95-hp. six-cylinder Ford diesel motor into it. Roadless also turned it into a four-wheel drive using a transfer case (built in-house) and the axle from a military 6×6. They’re pretty beefy!
I think this is a 1966-68 model. If it is, that makes this one VERY rare. Roadless only made 210 to 215 of these, and I don’t think many of them made it over here. They’re still quite popular with English and Dutch tractor collectors as I understand it.
Admittedly, this one is rough. At some point in its life, an aftermarket turbo kit was added to it (possibly an M&W?), so this tractor definitely makes more power than your average Roadless 95. Evan Goodrich, the auctioneer, says that it runs well and that the 4WD works, too. This would be a fun one to bring to a plow day!
I have no idea what one of these tractors is worth, but to the right collector, it might be just what they’re looking for! I’d imagine that if a collector does pick it up, that turbo might be the first thing to go in the restoration process.
If you’re that buyer, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email.
The Corner Carver
It’s getting hard to find low-hour original tractors like this one these days. Every now and then, however, one sneaks out of the barn and heads to auction. Like this one! This beautiful 1990 model 4455 front-wheel drive has only 2,743 original hours on it, and it sells at an auction hosted by Wears Auctioneering in Iowa City, Iowa. Sells with duals, full rack of front weights, new interior, and sales and service records.
The 4455 MFWD was a hot seller, because among other improvements, this tractor could turn sharper than the competition. Deere built a push-button system for the 50 series called Caster Action, which tightened the turning radius. However, on the 55 series, it engaged automatically. By tilting the kingpin on the front axle a few degrees, the front wheels could lean over while turning, thereby tightening your turning radius. In fact, the stat nerds at Deere figured that if you dragged a six-row 30-inch cultivator through a square 100-acre field, you’d turn around 139 times! With Caster Action, the 4455 could cut about 18 feet off of each loop! When you do the math, that saves about a half mile per field! It doesn’t sound like much, but if you did the math all the way through the year, it’d add up to some decent fuel savings! That said, many owners turned their 4455s up a little, so the fuel savings went straight out the stack. Still, it was nice idea, right?
This particular tractor is a three-owner with 2,743 hours (verified – service records and sale history comes with the tractor). The tractor has never left the state of Iowa all of its life, and each owner has maintained it very well. A Deere technician replaced the dash at 2,727.9 hours in 2014; he engraved the original hours on the underside of the new dash to document the change. Since then, the owner has only used it a few hours per year mowing set-aside land. The new meter currently reads 14.9 hours.
Bidding on this one is pretty hot right now; I’ll be surprised if this tractor doesn’t hit close to $50K when the bidding is finished!
Hi! 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 it. I think it’s cool, and I hope you will, too! This is Interesting Iron!