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The RAV4 of tractors?

Was White’s 4-180 the SUV tractor of its day?

The story of how White Farm Equipment (WFE) was born is a long one, and you’ll get bored hearing it. Suffice it to say that in 1969, WFE was born.

At the time, they were still maintaining three different legacy brands underneath their umbrella – Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline, and Cockshutt. When 1974 rolled around, though, they decided to phase them out and start fresh with White.

WFE knew it needed to make a big splash on the market in order to establish itself quickly. It saw a hole in the market for sort of an in-between tractor. Something that was a step up from a row-crop but not something real big like a Steiger. What they really wanted to do was create the crossover of tractors. One that could do it all … like a Field Boss.

White 4-150 tractor Interesting Iron

In a nutshell, WFE wanted to build a tractor that checked off all these boxes:

  • Four-wheel-drive traction
  • Row-crop versatility
  • Utility-model stability
  • Articulated maneuverability
  • Reasonable power

If you think about it, that’s pretty much the same thing that Toyota did when it built the RAV4 in 1995 (sans the hinge in the middle). 
Overall, WFE did a good job of executing on it, too. The White 4-150 Field Boss ticked off nearly every one of those boxes above. Very sleek, stylish, and quiet, it sat lower to the ground than its 4WD competitors, turned sharper, and didn’t lose traction, either!

Occasionally, you’ll hear farmers complain that these are lightweight tractors that aren’t up to the job. But that’s not true. The 4-150 wasn’t a deep tillage tractor. It was built as a beefed-up row-crop tractor that would handle a little bit of everything. And at the end of the day, it did the job just fine!

Can the 4-180 handle more? Yep, you bet. White built it that way … on purpose!

Frankly, this particular tractor has aged better than most early Field Bosses. The body panels are nice and straight, there’s very little rust on the cab, and the best part? Just 3,300 original hours!

Assuming it hasn’t been worked hard like a red-headed stepchild, the 3208 Cat engine should have some life left in it. It needs new rubber (or will soon), and the seat is torn up a bit, too. But other than those items, this is a pretty solid example of the Field Boss! 

And it could be yours. It sells on Thursday, September 10, at an auction being held by Wilkinson Auction ( up near Madison, Wisconsin!

Ryan Roossinck

They say every tractor has a story, and I’m a storyteller – so let’s tell tractor stories! The tractors I write about here are currently up for auction and are listed at I think they’re cool, and I hope you will too! This is Interesting Iron!

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