Mountain Moving, Car Crushing Tractor
This week on TractorZoom’s Interesting Iron, we’re talking about small-cube muscle tractors, a tractor that could probably move a mountain if it wanted to, and that time when John Deere thought your garden tractor ought to match your Camaro. Let’s get into it!
The 9600 is probably my favorite Ford tractor of all time. There’s something about these things that just looks right. A 9600 open station with a narrow front on a set of 20.8 Firestone Deep Treads, the white fenders with the lights in ’em, and a ROPS bar? That just screams muscle tractor to me.
The 9600 was the top dog in Ford’s lineup in 1975. It made just over 135 PTO horse from a turbocharged 401, which was one of the smallest motors of the era. (I think the only one to make similar horsepower with a smaller motor was Massey Ferguson.)
This particular tractor also features Dual-Power, Ford’s version of a torque amplifier, which effectively allowed the operator to split the dual-range four-speed into a 16-speed transmission. This one works, too!
The 9600 had a reputation for being a really torque-y tractor with lots of low-end grunt. It’s known to be pretty fuel-efficient, too. I know a guy from Missouri who still farms with one today; even though he’s turned it up a little, he swears it only burns about 6.5 gallons per hour!
This particular 9600 is in BEAUTIFUL shape! It’s a one-owner tractor with good rubber all the way around, straight tin, and it’s absurdly clean both inside and out!
Here’s the best part, though ... it’s only got 3,033 hours on it! It’s barely broken in! It lives in Minnesota until next week when our friends at Zielsdorf Auction & Real Estate (https://zielsdorf.nextlot.com/public/) send it home with a new owner.
If you want to see some video of a nicely-restored Ford 9600, our friends at Successful Farming interviewed a farmer in Grinnell, Iowa, not too long ago for their Ageless Iron segment. Watch it here!
Useless Trivia: How do you tell the difference between an 8000-series and a 9000-series Ford without looking under the hood? Look at the grille. On the 8000-series tractors, the rectangles are vertical. On the 9000-series, they’re horizontal!
In the late 1970s, Steiger built some pretty unbelievable machines. This was one of them.
Steiger built the Tiger III ST450 from 1977 to 1982, which actually encompassed two different models. They built the first 173 tractors with a Cummins KTA-1150 rated at 470 hp. (this tractor is number 158). For the 1980 model year, they changed motors on the ST450 to a 450-hp. Caterpillar 3408. The Cummins-powered version remained at 470 horse and was rebadged as the ST470. At the end of the day, I suspect it was a sales move, but it’s historically notable.
Any way you slice it, they’re big honkin’ tractors and they’re probably perfect for nearly any big job you would want to undertake.
Want to move a mountain? Hook it to one of these.
Need to flatten a dozen cars in about five minutes? The ST450 can do it (especially this one – dual 30.5 rubber all the way around).
This particular ST450 probably never crushed cars or moved mountains, but it did do something very important. It laid miles and miles of drainage tile across thousands of acres of wet fields, and helped many farmers become a lot more productive. It’ll sell with a ZOR double-link tile plow that’s set up for 6-inch tile, and there are several other boots available at this auction (I think 8- and 10-inch).
I’ve heard rumors that Steiger built tractors specifically for tiling in the late 1970s. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out this was one of them. This tractor is definitely built for it as it sells with 4,900 pounds of extra weight on the nose, as well as dual 30.5×32 Firestone Forestry Specials all the way around. It’s got to tip the scales at close to 60,000 pounds as is!
The last time we saw a Tiger III like this one sell at an auction, it went for just under $44,000, but it didn’t have a tile plow setup with it, and the tires weren’t quite as new. This one should bring a fair bit more. I’d be surprised if it didn’t come close to $50,000 by the time the hammer drops. The market for tractors like this is fairly small, but the right buyer will love it!
This Tiger III is selling this Saturday, August 22, at a sale being conducted by Hamilton Auction (www.hamiltonauctioncompany.com)
A John Deere painted blue? For real?
Yep. When Mother Deere set her sights on the ’burbs in the late 1960s with its line of garden tractors, you could buy a model 110, 112, 120, or 140 in the traditional green and yellow, or in any of four different special colors. It was a marketing ploy that only lasted for a couple of years because they didn’t sell very well. But to collectors right now, they’re pretty hot!
They were actually called the Custom Color series, but these days everybody just calls them The Patio Series tractors. They were mechanically identical to their green counterparts, but they were painted Dogwood White from the factory (sans hood), and the customer was given the choice of matching hood and seat. Available colors were Patio Red, Sunset Orange, Spruce Blue, and April Yellow.
The advertising for the Patio Series was interesting. Deere played with different concepts appealing to upper-middle class life like letting your wife pick out her favorite color (I’m not touching that with a 10-foot pole) or matching the color of your mower to the color of your boat or car or even lawn furniture. Obviously, it didn’t work because they didn’t sell a ton of them, but I will say that the Spruce Blue bears a reasonably close resemblance to Mulsanne Blue (one of the more popular colors for the Camaro).
This Spruce Blue 112 lives in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, for now, but I’m pretty sure there’ll be a lot of action on the bidding before it’s all said and done.
You can track the bidding action by going to Gavin Bros. Auctioneers (the firm conducting this auction) at gavinbros.com.
The 112 sells next Thursday, August 27.
A buddy of mine who’s pretty knowledgeable on these tractors is pretty sure it’s all-original, and the Spruce Blue is one of the rarer of the colors (the rarest is April Yellow). It’ll be fun to see where the bidding ends up on this one! Our Iron Comps Insights data suggests that it’ll sell for somewhere in the $1,000 to $1,200 neighborhood.
Pro Tip: If you’re shopping for a Patio Series tractor, try to find one with an original seat in decent shape. There aren’t many NOS seats available these days, and as far as I know, nobody makes a reproduction. When NOS originals show up on eBay, the bidding quickly goes bonkers!
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 (tractorzoom.com), I’m going to show it off a little bit! This equipment is all up for auction RIGHT NOW so you can make a bid! I think they’re cool, and I hope you will, too. This is Interesting Iron!