The tractor that made IHC famous

There’s something about the proportions of the International Harvest 1256 Wheatland that just looks right

Farmall Land International 1256

There’s something about the proportions of the International Harvest 1256 Wheatland that just looks right to me. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the curvy wide fenders that I really love. Since this auction has gone live, I’ve had a few people ask me what I would choose to own if I could only have one tractor out of Jerry Mez’s Farmall-Land USA collection.

The answer?

This one. Man, I love this 1256.

IH was riding high on a wave of popularity with the 1206 they’d released a few years earlier. They’d been extraordinarily good sellers, and IH wanted to keep the momentum rolling into the future. So, in 1967, they released the 1256. The list of improvements wasn’t super long, but there was one pretty noteworthy item.

The most major improvement was to the motor. The power rating went up by 4 hp. That might not seem like much, but when coupled with the increase in cubic inches displacement (CID) in the motor (361 CID) the 12-oh vs. 407 CID in the 1256), that was a pretty big deal. The bigger DT407 motor had more grunt in the low end. At the end of the day, that meant that the 1256 would be more likely to power through when the going got tough. In contrast, when running a 1206 in the same ground, you’d have probably found yourself pulling the torque amplifier­ to get through it. IHC’s engineers set out to provide more useful power, and they accomplished that goal quite nicely!

Overall, the 1256 sold well. IH produced 7,125 of them in total (including the Farmall-branded models) between 1967-1969. Jerry Mez’s tractor is an early 1967 model, and it’s been very nicely restored. It’s a true Wheatland as far as I can tell, although there were a bunch of different option packages on these tractors. This one does have a TA, a PTO, and two hydraulic lines out the back, but no three-point hitch. Collectors will argue until the cows come home about whether or not that’s a “true” Wheatland model, but I’m with Jerry on this one. He says it’s a Wheatland. I do, too.

So why did I call this one “The Cover Girl”?

Red Tractor Book

Well, that’s because I’m not the only one with an affinity for this tractor. This exact tractor was Lee Klancher’s pick for the cover photo of the latest edition of Octane Press’s Red Tractors book (seen above)! 

Lee is an incredibly talented photographer and author. The things that guy can do with a camera will blow your mind! The Red Tractors series of books are his brainchild, and if you don’t have a 1256 like the one on the cover? You’ve got a chance to bid on it! 

Click below to pick up a copy of this book for yourself – I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

My friend Ken Girard at Girard Auctions is handling Jerry & Joyce’s auctions, and thus far, the response has been pretty good on this tractor. Bidding currently sits at about $6,000. But it won’t stay that way for long. The auction doesn’t close until November 9, and my guess is that we’ll go north of $20,000 by the time the hammer drops.

John Kinzenbaw IHC video screen

Side story: There’s one particular 1256 that’s not quite like the rest of ’em, and my friends at Heritage Iron magazine spent some time talking with the man who made it a little different. Jon Kinzenbaw, the man who repowered all of those John Deeres with Detroit Diesels? Well, he only did ONE red one like that … a 1256 that was originally from mid-Missouri.

Here’s the video…

Now, before all of you purists start sending me (or Sherry) hate mail about wrecking a perfectly good 1256 with a loud, obnoxious Detroit … this one wasn’t a perfectly good one when Jon got his hands on it. As I understand it, the tractor had been burned in a fire and it was destined to be melted down for scrap. For lack of a better term, he resurrected it! Pretty cool! Makes 238 hp. on the dyno, too!

By the way, if you’re looking for a more complete history on the 1256, Heritage Iron had one in issue #31. I believe it is still available as either a back issue or a reprint!

If you’d like to see all of the tractors on the first Farmall-Land auction, click here! 

Ryan Roossinck

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!

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