The screamin’ tractor

It’s been a LONG time since the state of Iowa was the epicenter of truck and tractor pulling, but by golly, we sure are this weekend! The Rockwell, Iowa, Lions Club has the distinct honor of hosting the one and only NTPA Grand National hook on planet earth for 2020 … and it just so happens that I manage their social media.

I will absolutely guarantee that this will be the best show you see all year long, whether you’re there in person or enjoy it through livestream it! If you’re there in person, please come and say hi! Look for the big oafy guy with the giant camera hanging off his neck! I’ll have plenty of koozies with me!

This week, it’s all about Olivers ... and a mystery Moline that I need some help with. Maybe you can help! Let’s get into it!

Oliver 990

That Two-Stroke Diesel With A Rebel Yell

If you’ve read this email for more than a month, you probably know I have a thing for machines that make cool noises. The Oliver 990 definitely fits in this category as far as I’m concerned. Two-stroke GM Diesel motors make a very unique sound, and I love that. 
The late ’50s were sort of a golden age in farming. Farmers were expanding operations and with that came the call for bigger equipment and bigger power. Oliver answered that call with the 990, a straight-up barnyard brute. Rated from the factory at 93 hp., this was nearly the biggest machine in Oliver’s lineup! It was efficient horsepower, too, at least for one farmer from Colorado. He told the folks at GM that he was able to plow 76% more ground per hour with his 990, and it nearly cut his cost per acre in half! Hard to argue with those numbers!

It’s been said that the proper way to operate a GM Diesel two-stroke is to get good and mad at it; like, slam your hand in the shop door and then get behind the wheel ... that kind of mad. To hear what one of these bad boys sounds like under load, check out this little clip from the 2015 Half Century of Progress Show. With a four-bottom plow behind it, this one wasn’t even breathing heavy. They were big tough tractors then, and they’re still beefy by today’s standards!

They’re also pretty collectible. Oliver only made about 1800 of these tractors during the production run. This one has had an older restoration, and has been living in an Oliver collection in Nebraska. It sells on August 23, and it’s sure to draw quite a bit of attention as the auction gets closer!

Minneapolis-Moline G1000

The Rice Special

I’m just about positive that this is the single rarest tractor that an auctioneer has ever listed on Tractor Zoom. It’s one of two ever built … I think. I’m still working on tracking that part down.

The Minneapolis Moline G1000 Rice Special was a variant of the Wheatland, as best as I can tell, and I think most of them went down to Texas near the Gulf Coast. Mechanically, they’re pretty much identical to the G1000 Wheatland. Same 504A-6 diesel motor, beefy frame, full crown fenders … the typical stuff. 

Here’s where the story gets interesting. There were only 89 front-wheel-drive G1000 Wheatlands ever built. And I think there were only two that were noted as Rice Specials. I’ve done a fair amount of poking around, and I can only find record of one other one; it’s painted red and has a cab.

So, I’ll ask you ... are these two tractors a pair separated at birth, or are they half-siblings? Was there another open-station G1000 front-wheel-drive Rice Special? If so, where is it now?

The world may never know. I’m trying to run down the gentleman in Texas who owns the other one I was able to find. If the two of us can get our heads together and figure this out, I’ll update the blog entry on our website.

In the meantime, go click the link and check out the details on this G1000! If you can help me solve the mystery, send me an email
Until then, I’ll continue pacing the floor at night trying to solve the mystery...

Oliver 1755

The Last One

 In 1970, to keep up with the Joneses (so to speak), Oliver released the 55-series tractors. They were great tractors, but in order to be more efficient in production, they decided to base the models 1755, 1855, and 1955 on the same motor, the Waukesha 310. In theory, one-size-fits-all is a great idea. In practice, not so much. It proved to be detrimental to the success of the model lineup (especially the 1855 and 1955) as these two were turbocharged for more power. Oliver continually dealt with overheating problems with both of the turbocharged models. Proper maintenance and oil changes helped, but if a farmer was trying to finish a field before dark and ran hard too many times, it often ended badly.

BUT ... the 1755 was the exception. The motor was the perfect size for the tractor. And because it wasn’t turbocharged, it ran cool enough to work all day long! I’ll bet some of you are still farming with a 1755 that’s never had the motor cracked open! They’re a great little tractor!

So why is this one on Interesting Iron? Because they only made 39 of ’em that were front-wheel drive (FWD), and I’m 99.9% sure that this one is Number 39! Not only that, but it’s the second-to-last 1755 built!

Now, does this translate into massive collector value? That’s debatable. Rarity doesn’t always mean dollar signs. We’ll have to see when the hammer falls! In the meantime, click the link and check this one out! It’s a survivor for sure!

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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