That’s right, kids…not one Case 4894, but a pair of ’em this week!
In the late 70s and into the 80s, big 4WD power was where it was at. The idea itself wasn’t new; the Steiger brothers had been building 4WDs for nearly 20 years at this point. But, with farm expansion in the 70s, farmers needed more power to pull bigger implements, and the industry was really starting to take off.
The typical 4WD of the 70s followed a pretty basic formula. Build a big tractor that bent in the middle (or have Steiger build you one…), let the marketing & advertising people do their thing, and voila! Well, the people at J.I. Case thought that was pretty much the most ridiculous thing ever. How do you keep a tractor that BENDS IN THE MIDDLE going straight?
Seems like a pretty legit question, right?
J.I. Case’s approach
Ever since the factory in Racine turned out their first 4WD (the 1200) back in the early sixties, they felt a straight frame with axles that could pivot did a better job. That was their story, and they were stickin’ to it. Honestly, they’d had pretty good success with their 4-wheel-steer setups, too. They were complex systems, and they took a little more TLC than a center pin. Man alive, though, they sure could turn a tight circle! Less than 19′ even with duals! Good luck doing that with a Steiger! Additionally, the crab steer was a big help on hillsides. It all but eliminated side draft!
So in August of 1979 when Case launched the 90-series tractors, they touted them as “the most advanced 4WD tractors had ever built”. They were impressive tractors, too. The new “Silent Guardian” cab was a game changer for sure; it was roomy and quiet – even quieter than a SoundGard!
In 1984, they updated the 90-series tractors to the 94-series. Fundamentally, they were the same tractor (save for one all-new tractor at the top of the stack – the 4994), but where the 90 was pretty analog, the new model incorporated more electronics and a digital dashboard. They still retained the same transmission and powerplant…which for the Case 4894, came from Sweden.
Wait…what? Sweden? Why?
Yep. Sweden. Home of meatballs, IKEA, the northern lights, and an unintelligible Muppet.
Scania was (and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen today, it still is) a major player in the diesel industry, and they’re a driving force in the global trucking market. They build semis and city buses, as well as lots of motors for various applications. They’re a big deal!
JIC partnered with Scania for motors for the top tractors in the 70, 90, and 94 series. The 2870, 4890, and 4894 used Scania’s DS11 motor, a 674-inch inline six that made about 300 horse. The 4994, Case’s biggest-ever tractor, used the DS14, an 866-inch V8 that made 400 horse! They were stout powerplants that performed very well in the field.
Partnering with a Swedish company, no matter how beefy the motors, though…it seems…well, a little strange, honestly. I’ve wondered why Case chose Scania for a long time. Never found a really reliable answer to the question, either. I’ve heard theories as to why Scania got the contract, though.
Steiger & Versatile were pretty heavily involved with Cummins at the time. There could’ve been a clause in their contracts that Cummins wouldn’t sell to anybody else. It wouldn’t be the first time a company had negotiated a contract like that.
Interestingly enough, the last five or ten 4994s built left Racine with an 855 between the frame rails. I believe one of them actually sold at a Canadian farm sale in October of 2019. I also know of one 4894 living in Minnesota that has what appears to be a completely factory-installed L10 Cummins in it. I’m not sure what the serial number is, though, so I don’t know if it’s early or late. I’m guessing it might be a late one.
I do know that Scania made a push into the US market with a small contract with Mack over the road trucks earlier in the 70s. That might’ve caught JIC’s eye, especially if the big motors were a cost-effective option. Case could’ve been taking a gamble on Scania’s success in the States.
It could’ve also been a case where the top brass at JIC & Tenneco were just huge ABBA fans, too… ?
In the field…
In the field, the 4894s were monsters. They were very popular in the west as well as in the Canadian wheat and canola fields. Hilly country was where these tractors made their mark. They might look a little funny when they crab-steer, but man alive, it sure is effective!
They were powerful and capable, but as with most complex systems, they did need maintenance. The crab-steer system had a lot of moving parts, and if the owner didn’t look ’em over and address issues, consequences could be costly. An ounce of prevention definitely saved a pound of cure, in the case of the big crab-steer tractors!
Even though they sold relatively well, the factory only churned out 872 of these big tractors. Part of that was due to the merger between Case and IH, just a year after the 4894 rolled onto the market. Once the merger happened, the 94 series was scrapped because IH was already in a pretty strong partnership with Steiger. The remaining tractors were all painted red and rebadged as Case Internationals. Once they were gone, they were gone.
The ones on next week’s sale…
With tractors like the 4894, proper usage and preventative upkeep is definitely the key. If you’re looking at one on an auction or a classified ad, etc., check for service records. The key is to get the story.
…and that’s exactly what I did.
I called Clint Mullins, the man who owns these tractors. He lives just southwest of Williston, ND, just across the Montana state line. Until fairly recently, Clint and his son Zach farmed a fair amount of grain out there (wheat, I think?). They’ve decided to downsize their operation by a fair bit, and the team over at Musser Bros. is handling the sale.
At any rate, Clint told me that he bought the pair of 4894s in the late 90s to restore and use. He’s been completely through the tractors from stem to stern. Rebuilt both of the big Scania motors, been through the transmissions, differential, planetaries…the whole works. While he had them apart, he also repainted them IH red and re-decal’d them.
Once they’d been redone, they went to work on the farm. One of ’em pulled a 45′ air drill in the spring and served on grain cart duty during harvest. The other spent its life pulling a sprayer.
The hours are accurate. The grain cart tractor has 3300 original hours, and it’s got a bit more grunt. Clint turned the motor up to about 360 horse. It’s got dual 20.8x38s on it and a full rack of front weights go with it. The sprayer tractor has 7600 hours on it, and he left it set at 300 horse. It also sports dual 18.4x38s, a nearly full front weight rack, as well as being outfitted with Trimble EZ-Steer!
What’ll they bring?
Honestly, I expect they’ll bring quite a bit. I checked our Iron Comps database for prices on the Case 4894, and of the few listed (they don’t change hands very often), they’ve been hovering in the $8-10K range. That said…these are a LOT nicer tractors, and they’re selling in area where these were well-regarded. If they don’t bring between $20-25K each, I’d be very surprised.
Will they set all-time records? No. The all time record is somewhere in the $45K range at least 10 or 12 years ago. But, for the “modern” era that we’re living in now, these will set a very high mark!
Well this is a little different, isn’t it? Normally I write about stuff built for row crop farms. But…once in a while, we see neat stuff built for specialty crops like orchards and vineyards. This Antonio Carraro 9400 TRH in the photo is a prime example!
Antonio Carraro…they make shoes, right???
If you ask ten random farmers in the States what Antonio Carraro makes, I’ll bet at least three of ’em look at their wife and answer, “Shoes?” Four of ’em will ask if it’s an Italian restaurant chain. Two will say they build sports cars. If you’re lucky, the last guy might know they make tractors! Without regard to that, though, Antonio Carraro has been building funny-looking little tractors for over 60 years!
To understand these tractors and why they look like they do, you need to know a little about Italy. Antonio Carraro is small company in the little town of Padova, a few miles west of Venice, in northeastern Italy. It’s a very fertile area, but it’s not easy to farm because it’s so hilly. You’ve got to be part mountain goat to farm it…or you need to have nimble, low-slung tractors that are stable on hillsides!
And that’s exactly what they make.
Perseverance pays off…
The company actually started in 1910 when Giovanni Carraro opened a blacksmith shop to make ag equipment for local farmers. The business barely had time to get on its feet before military service took him away for a while. It wasn’t until the early 1920s that he was able to return to his business.
The company really began to flourish in the early 30s when he developed a competitive planter that sold very well. By the late 30s, he employed a dozen people building equipment! During the 40s, though, war and scarcity of materials once again put the business on hold. However, after the war was over, the doors opened again and they picked up right where they left off! By the end of the decade, Carraro employed over 60 people!
In the late 50s, Carraro built its first tractor, the Scarabeo. It actually looked a lot like a very narrow version of an Allis Chalmers G. It wasn’t overly pretty, but it worked, and the company implemented the lessons learned in building it. That tractor actually still exists today, too! Here’s a video of it.
In the 60s, Giovanni Carraro began to turn the reins over to his kids…who promptly split the company in two. Antonio Carraro and his sister Bianca took the tractor side. Their goal was to build small, nimble tractors that could be used in hilly terrain. They found a niche with small farmers in northern Italy as well as the vineyards further south.
This is the kind of environment that Antonio Carraro tractors are built for. (Pretty impressive, huh?)
Continuous improvement leads to success…
Starting with the Tigre in 1964, Carraro has focused on continual improvements and technology upgrades, and they’ve done very well! Right now, they’ve got 17 models in their lineup – all of them are the same low-slung narrow size format, too. In the past, they’ve used multiple companies for their powertrains. Recently, though, they’ve announced a partnership with Yanmar on a going-forward basis.
From what I gather, Antonio Carraro himself is still involved in day to day operations, and walks the factory floor pretty regularly. The company has flourished over the past few years, growing to over 450 employees. They’ve won some fairly prestigious design and technology awards in the past 10 years as well! They’re a smart company that’s passionate about building highly capable little tractors!
The Antonio Carraro that you can bid on…
The tractor above is a 2010 Antonio Carraro model 9400 TRH. It’s a handy thing, too. It’s an 87-horse hydrostatic bi-directional tractor (the operator’s platform swings 180º) with only 1471 hours on it. It hasn’t seen a ton of use over the years. The engine is pre-DEF, too, which is nice! It’s got 2 remotes on the back, one in the front, 540/1000 PTO, air ride…pretty much all the stuff you’d find on a big tractor. This one just happens to be about 7′ tall!
This 9400 TRH is located at a vineyard in the greater Traverse City area of Michigan. The grower who owns the vineyard has decided to retire after farming ground on the eastern shores of the Grand Traverse Bay for 75 years! Our friends at Miedema Auctioneering are handling the sale, which wraps up next Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Antonio Carraro tractors are pretty unique in North America. They’re useful in orchards and vineyards, but also excel anywhere where a farmer is in tight quarters. I know of a couple of chicken farmers down south who use them to feed their animals. I believe they’ve also been used in a few cattle operations here in the States as well.
Overall, they’ve got a lot going for them in their niche. The one challenge for these tractors (in the US, at any rate) is the dealer network. I went out to Carraro’s website and checked, and they’ve only got about 20 dealers nationwide. While that’s not a large network, one of those dealers is Papé Machinery – a large dealer in the Pacific NW with a ton of locations.
What’ll it sell for? I have absolutely no idea. I looked in our Iron Comps database and this will be the first Carraro that we track sales results for. My guess, is that it’ll go for less than $25-30K. Spendy for a small tractor? Maybe…but it DOES have a ton of capability that you’d have a hard time replicating in a larger tractor.
I’d imagine that at the end of the day, this tractor will stay local. I know that area of Michigan, and it’s a hot spot for vineyards. They’re buying land from retiring cherry growers in that area VERY quickly. As they keep expanding, they’ll need tractors like Tony! If this one leaves the county, I’d be surprised!
There are a lot of cool tractor auctions that I never got to write about for Interesting Iron this year. We see lots of neat tractors and trucks listed on Tractor Zoom by our auction partners. Unfortunately, I can’t write about ’em all.
Still, they deserve a little time in the spotlight, so let’s do a year-end wrap-up of 20 of the coolest tractors, trucks, and pickups that didn’t make it to Interesting Iron in 2020! Last week, we covered everything from record-setting red tractors to Big Buds to Cummins-swapped squarebodies. This week, let’s look at the rest of the list!
The Wagner Tractor story has a bunch of different angles – way more than I can cram into a paragraph or two, but suffice it to say that they were a pioneer in the 4WD tractor movement. They built great big beasts in an era where lots of companies couldn’t even imagine a farmer big enough to need a tractor like that!
This big TR14A was one of two Wagners on a Sullivan sale in northeast Iowa this past August. Neither one of them brought a lot of money, but they still deserve a spot in the history books. Wagner tractors are an integral part of the big power farming story. I don’t think they’ll ever see the collectability that their green stepbrothers have (Wagner built big tractors for John Deere for a little while – I told you there were a lot of angles to this story!), but they’re cool in my book!
Side note: For you big tractor collector types, the silver lining to the low-price cloud is that if you want to start a niche-y collection, they don’t typically sell for huge dollars when they do come up! (Sadly, you don’t see many Wagners at tractor auctions…once in a while, maybe, but not often.)
Usually if there’s a super-low-houred classic that’s coming up for auction, word gets around. Not this time. This 2-owner black stripe 1066 only had 794 original (and verified) hours on it! I’ve never seen a lower-houred 1066 in my entire life! Needless to say, this beautiful survivor brought big money. It smashed the previous record by $19K, hammering home for $46K after it was all said and done!
People have wondered if maybe the market is starting to slip on 1066s a little bit. I think this one, even though it’s a bit of an outlier example, still reinforces the case that there’s still demand for classics like this – both for collectors as well as for farm use!
Oddly enough, though…this wasn’t the highest-priced 1066 we’d see in 2020. More on that in a minute.
This is probably one of my favorite tractors that rolled across the block this year (maybe a tie between this one and Jerry’s 1256 Wheatland). I’m sure there are purists that are cringing over this pick because they think a “true” Wheatland couldn’t be ordered with fat tires like this, and they think it looks way too hot-rodded. To each their own. I’ve seen some of the ordering paperwork and I’m pretty certain you could order these with factory 24.5s like this one.
Anyway, this one presented very nicely in my opinion. In addition, this is the very last IH 1206 built in 1966! The bidders didn’t go as nuts over this one as I thought they might, but Deanco still got a pretty reasonable price out of it.
I think what I really like about this one is that it shows that you can still find a decent deal on a collector tractor at an auction. They don’t ALWAYS go for a small fortune. I don’t know who ended up with this one, but I hope it was a young collector, and it’s a cornerstone of their collection!
When Case got into the 4WD tractor market in 1963 with the 1200 Traction King, they did it in the typical Case way. They’d always produced a quality product with reasonable features at an affordable price. They drew a box around what they wanted, and they built a tractor that fit within those parameters. In this case, that meant using pieces and parts that were already sitting on the shelf to keep costs down. Had they wanted to, they could’ve built something super-robust that made a ton of power, but that would’ve been overkill. They had the components to build a 200-horse tractor that probably would’ve tipped the scales at 20,000 lbs., but that would’ve been more than what was necessary for the time.
The 1200 Traction King was, at the time, a great tractor with one rather glaring flaw…the turbocharger. A normal 451 cubic inch Lanova that Case put in this tractor normally made 105 horsepower, but that would’ve been just a little underpowered for this big tractor. The tractor needed more power, and the only way to get it was to turbocharge it. Unfortunately, though, the turbo’d 451 was a fragile motor with a tendency to run REALLY hot.
The 1200 didn’t sell tremendously well, and Case only turned out about 1500 of them. This one was nicely restored, and like the 1206 from the same auction, the bidders didn’t go crazy with it. Somebody got a pretty good deal on this piece of history and took it home for $10K!
Just like they say that they’re only original once…there’s only one “first one.” This is the very first 1066. Serial number 7101. Amazingly enough, this tractor lived in Iowa all of its life. It was originally sold on December 8, 1971 by Falb Implement in Elgin, IA and only changed hands twice since then. Sometime in 1976, it was sold by Rhomberg Implement in Elkader, IA to Ray Cassutt who farmed with it until November 6, 1987, when Jerry Everitt bought it at Ray’s retirement auction.
1066 #1 is an incredibly original tractor. What you see in the photo is essentially what it looked like in December 1971 when it originally sold in Elgin! I believe the only things that aren’t factory original are the tires. Otherwise, that’s the original paint and Hiniker cab! Here’s the real crazy part…even after three owners, it’s only got 2993 original hours on it!
There was a LOT of discussion about who would end up with it and how much they’d end up paying for it. Heck, we had even had a pool going with in our office on what it would bring! (And had we not been playing Price Is Right rules, I’d have won the darn thing…)
When the hammer finally fell, the winning bidder paid $86,100. Honestly, it was less than a lot of people thought it was going to sell for (I heard guesses of anything from $50K to a quarter million). There were a fair number of people who were pretty annoyed that Case IH wasn’t the buyer. That’s okay, though. I’m sure Case IH knows where it went… (I can also tell you that they’ll probably have to pay through the nose if they want to get their hands on it.)
If ever there was an iconic semi, the long-nosed 379 is it. They’re the most popular owner-operator semi in history, and it’s not at all uncommon to see them customized like this one. I’m telling you…if I were ever to own a semi, this is what it would look like. (I might stretch the frame a little wee bit further and it would likely have a fire-breathing 6NZ Cat under the hood.)
I had a few buddies who had their eye on this truck when it went up for auction, but none of them ended up picking it up. Truthfully, I only saw one thing that likely kept the price from six figures. Most buyers looking for a semi like this are expecting to see some sort of Caterpillar under the hood (a 6NZ or a C15 most likely), and this one had a 60-series Detroit in it. Still, it hammered home for a very nice price and the seller was happy with the outcome.
In the world of Olivers, finding a 2050 is a pretty remarkable thing. They only built a total of 383 of them – including Cockshutt variants. But to find a front wheel assisted model? That’s exceedingly rare. There were only 93 FWA variants produced in total!
As you can see, this one wasn’t in perfect shape, but it was all there for the most part. I don’t know where it ended up, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a collector that picked it up.
Rare classics are out there, kids. You just need to keep an eye open for them! They do show up at regular old tractor auctions once in a while!
Pro Tip: Smart auction buyers (and collectors) don’t waste hundreds of hours scrolling through endless auction listings for the equipment they’re looking for. They use Tractor Zoom’s custom search alerts and let our system do the looking! Set up a free TZ user account here, and then set up an alert to get a text or email whenever we get a match for whatever you’re looking for! With over 450 auctioneer partners, we’ll end up finding it faster! (And if you need to find out what equipment is worth, you need to take a look at Iron Comps!)
The Mediapolis Fire Truck
There’s been a resurgence in popularity of 70s and 80s pickups over the past few years. They’re tough trucks that are easy to work on or restore, and they’re darn good lookin’ things! For a lot of today’s gearheads, trucks like this remind them of learning to wrench with Dad or Grandpa in the garage. In that sense, they become more than just a hunk of iron. They’re sentimental.
At any rate, this 1979 F-350 served in the Mediapolis Fire Dept. from when it was new until the fall of 2013 when it was retired. Since then, it’s been stripped of the gear in the back (a water pump, tank, and hose reel), and generally freshened up a bit. Nothing crazy. It doesn’t need it! At the end of the day, it has 30K original miles and a 400 in it – the biggest motor you could have gotten it with! (And before you start the “You’re wrong, Interesting Iron Guy” emails…you couldn’t get a 460 in a 4×4 in 1979. I checked.)
Bidders LOVED this truck, and it was one of the hottest sellers on this sale. When the hammer fell, it brought nearly $24K!
A long time ago, I remember writing something about how, at the end of the day, these aren’t just machines. Whether it’s a truck, a tractor, a combine, or something else that can be driven, pivotal moments of life have been spent there. How many grandfathers planted corn after dinner with one of their grandsons riding on the armrest of a 1086? How many times has a father consoled a heartbroken teenaged daughter sitting in the buddy seat of a 9770 STS during harvest? Furthermore, how many teenage boys have saved every penny so they could put a lift kit on an old Chevy like this one? My point is that these things aren’t just tools that we’re talking about.
Life happens in these vehicles.
Nothing that crossed the auction block in 2020 drove that point home harder for me than this truck.
See, this truck belonged to a kid named Seth from Louisiana. It was his pride and joy. He drove it everywhere and I’m sure he had a lot of fun in that truck. I’m sure he drove that truck to his high school graduation ceremony, and maybe out to a party afterwards. Might’ve taken it out on a first date or two as well.
Then, on his first day of college, doctors discovered that he had bone cancer. Three years and a long, hard fight later, Seth passed away in 2013 at age 21.
Seth’s grandfather held on to the truck for the past seven years. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for him to sit in that old Chevy and think about his grandson. My heart goes out to him, and his family. Nobody ever thinks that they’ll have to bury their grandchild. Still, it happens.
A month or two ago, Seth’s grandfather decided that it was time that the truck went to start a new life with a new owner, so he consigned it with our friends at Henderson Auctions in Livingston, LA. When the auction ended, the proceeds (including buyer’s premium) went to the family’s church to help build a memorial pavilion in Seth’s memory. It sold for $12,000.
Friends, we’re not promised tomorrow. Don’t wait to make memories with your family and friends.
So earlier this summer, there was another AC 8550 that sold at an Indiana retirement auction and smashed the existing record. I think 8550s are really cool and I wrote about that one for Interesting Iron. Super Beasts don’t show up at tractor auctions very often; to see two of them sell in a calendar year is somewhat uncommon. In the end of that article in above, though, I told the story of another Super Beast that lived at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in the late 70s into the 80s.
THIS IS THAT VERY TRACTOR THAT I TOLD THE STORY ABOUT!!!
See, back in the day, AC had a strong marketing partnership with Loretta Lynn. They had a working hobby-type ranch in Tennessee, and farmed with orange tractors. Early one Sunday morning, one of the local dealers got a frantic call from Loretta’s husband Mooney. Apparently he’d learned that Super Beasts can’t swim. I believe the story goes that there’d been a little Saturday night drinking involved, and he’d driven it into a pond and cooked the motor in the process.
After a bit of “discussion” between the involved parties, Allis replaced the motor in that tractor, and up until just a few weeks ago, it was still working on a farm in Ohio!
Now, this tractor didn’t set a crazy record when our friends at Harmeyer Auction sold it, but $24,000 is still pretty strong money. That Allis landed in a collection up in North Dakota a week or two. Not only did they get the tractor, but they got a heck of a story to go with it!
So there you have it, my friends. The 20 most interesting things that I didn’t have the chance to write about for Interesting Iron in 2020. Hope you enjoyed the stories! I’m going to be hard at work finding new stories to tell in 2021, and I hope to run into you at tractor auctions down the road!
Today, we take a look at the crown jewel of the Farmall Land collection, the IH 4300. This one has a pretty good story behind it, both in terms of history as well as how it came into Jerry’s hands.
In the early 30s, a guy named Frank Hough bought a company that made digging attachments for tractors, and set out to add a new term to the dictionary. His company built heavy-duty wheel loaders, and called them PayLoaders. The term stuck, and the construction industry still calls pretty much any wheel loader a payloader today. In the late 50s, Hough sold the company to Harvester, and built quite a few different types of IH construction equipment…and one great big farm tractor.
In the late 50s, engineers from Hough got the green light from Harvester to develop a BIG farm tractor. Nobody really knows how or why they got put on the project. Harvester didn’t typically ask for input on farm equipment from other business units. The working theory was that Brooks McCormick was worried about a Portland-based manufacturer, Wagner Tractor Company. Wagner had an articulating 4WD tractor, the TR-14, that was starting to grab marketshare in the Pacific Northwest, and there was fear that they’d start taking farmers away from IH in the northern plains as well.
Up until now, farmers out in the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest typically used crawlers to handle field work. Crawlers were slow, dusty, and because they were on tracks – hard to transport. The idea of a high-horsepower tractor on rubber was very appealing; it would do the same work faster and more efficiently (and because the operator sat higher, they’d end up eating less dust).
Hough had a prototype ready in 1959, and while Harvester liked the idea, they felt like it didn’t make enough power to compete effectively. The prototype made about 160 horse, and it was rumored that Deere’s 8010 prototype made closer to 200 horse. A year or so later, Hough had re-engineered the prototype to fit the need. It made more power – a lot more, in fact. They used an 817-inch turbodiesel that made 300 horse at the crank! Additionally, it was 4WD, featured front-wheel, four-wheel, and even crab-steer for hillside operation.
In reality, photos really don’t do justice to the enormity of what Hough actually built. The 4300 is over 21′ long, darn near 10′ wide, and tips the scales at 30,000 pounds! (While that’s not super big by today’s standards, it was absolutely gigantic in the early 60s!)
Unfortunately for Harvester…it was TOO big and a little too far ahead of its time. Farmers weren’t ready for the expense of a big tractor like that, and quite frankly, there weren’t implements available that could take advantage of the 4300’s capabilities. Hough built these tractors to order at their plant in Libertyville, IL, and they didn’t build very many of ’em. There are conflicting numbers as far as final production goes, but it’s somewhere between 36-40.
Jerry’s IH 4300
The 4300 that Jerry owns has a bit of a story to it, and traveled quite a long ways to get to him, too! It was one of two that IH sold new in 1961 in the northern Central Valley of California. In the mid/late 80s, the Leaman Brothers bought the tractor at an auction in LeGrange, CA and took it home to their shop in Pennsylvania. Ironically, the semi that took it across the country passed within a quarter mile of Jerry’s dealership in Avoca on that trip!
At any rate, Jerry bought it from Ed Leaman later that summer. When it got to Avoca, he started the long process of restoring it. Apparently, it was used in mud quite a bit, and it took him several days just to clean it up enough to see what he had! The tractor wasn’t a basket case per se, but it definitely wasn’t perfect either; it leaked oil from the valves, and there were plenty of other little odds and ends that needed addressed. The restoration process took a year or so.
Since completing the restoration, the overgrown Cub Cadet is on more or less permanently on display at Farmall Land, but I know Jerry takes it out for fresh air once in a while. It’s always a big hit at parades or tractor shows, that’s for sure. There’s plenty of videos on YouTube and photos on the internet of this tractor at shows – with the pinstriping and the quote painted on the front fenders, this one is hard to miss!
Sometimes the memes just write themselves, y’know?
What it’s worth…
Honestly, I have no idea. Of the 40(ish) IH 4300s produced, collectors have snatched up the majority of them. However, some are still working on farms in the Great Plains and in Western Canada, too. I only know of one other one restored to this level, though, and it won’t sell any time soon. A couple 4300s have sold since March of 2019 – one with a cab (it sold for almost $94,000), and the other without (it sold in late March for about $67,000). For the latter, the pandemic was hitting and the stock market was in free-fall mode. I do think the pandemic was a contributing factor to how the hammer fell.
Although we’re still dealing with the pandemic, I do think this one will bring pretty good money; it’s definitely the most famous 4300 out there, and it’s in great shape. Personally, I hope it gets to six figures (and I don’t think that’s completely out of reach). If the new owner enjoys that big ol’ Cub Cadet half as much as Jerry has, it’ll be well-worth the money!
Up above, I’d mentioned the “other” IH 4300 that was as nicely-restored as Jerry’s. Here’s a video from Prairie Farm Report about that tractor. Cool story!
There are still a few 4300s that see some farm work here and there. Here’s an older video of one of these big fellas running an 8-bottom moldboard plow in fall tillage. Listen to that big honkin’ motor! Although there’s a little wind noise, it sounds AWESOME!
One of the reasons that the IH 4300 didn’t turn the farming world on its ear was because there weren’t implements that were large enough to really take advantage of the capability. There were a few, but big-acre implements were still a few years away. Harvester did design a pretty cool 10-bottom moldboard plow for it, though. There were very few of them ever built, and as far as I know, there’s only one that’s survived. Here’s some of the advertising literature on it.
Final Hammer Price: $56600 (Somebody got a heck of a deal on this one.)
Remember the Red Green show from fifteen or twenty years ago? Remember how Red always ended the Handyman Corner segment? “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”
Yeah…that’s the Case 1470.
It didn’t look too handsome, but man alive, it did a bunch of things right. It’s a sure-footed tractor that’s heavy enough for tillage, but incredibly maneuverable as well! It kept all of the things that were successful in its predecessor (the Case 1200), and fixed the bad things. (More on that in a minute…)
When Case got into the 4WD tractor market in 1963, they did it in the typical Case way. They’d always produced a quality product with reasonable features at an affordable price. They drew a box around what they wanted, and they built a tractor that fit within those parameters. In this case, that meant using pieces and parts that were already sitting on the shelf to keep costs down. Had they wanted to, they could’ve built something that was super-robust and made a ton of power, but that would’ve been overkill. They had the components to build a 200-horse tractor that probably would’ve tipped the scales at 20,000 lbs., but that would’ve been more than what was necessary for the time.
The one mistake they made when they built the 1200 was in the choice of powerplant. The 451 cubic inch Lanova cell diesel didn’t respond well to turbocharging, which was what Case had to do to be competitive in the market. At the end of the day, the turbo’d 451 was a very fragile motor that ran pretty hot. (Hot enough that Case put a pyrometer on the dash with a warning about running it too hot for too long!)
That was one of the issues that Case addressed in the 1470. Instead of trying to stretch the inferior 451 even further, they chose a direct-injected 504 cubic inch motor. The 504 responded very well to turbocharging and nipped the reliability issues in the bud. Not only that, it made 146 PTO horsepower, and even set a fuel economy record that stood for 13 years! Talk about an improvement!
This particular Case 1470 is a 1971 model, and lives in northwest Nebraska. As with quite a few tractors out in that part of the country, this one doesn’t have a PTO (most 1470s didn’t have PTOs, from what I gather). That said, though, it does have great rubber (20.8×34 at 90%), 2 hydros, a 3-point hitch, and a cab to keep the elements out! It’s only got about 8500 hours on it, too, and it runs like a champ! Our friends at Kraupie’s Real Estate & Auction are handling the sale, which ends at about noon tomorrow (October 29, 2020).
At the end of the day, these tractors don’t come up for sale very often. This one is in better shape than most, I’d say, and I think the price will probably reflect that. I’d be surprised if it didn’t hit $6-7K by the time the hammer fell. Maybe a little more if a couple of bidders got into it. I know that there are a few pretty die-hard Case 1470 fans out there (one in particular doesn’t live too far away, either), so if a few of those guys start letting their wallets duke it out, who knows where it could go? Happy bidding!
Need parts for your Case tractors? Click here. I can just about guarantee that Elmer’s Repair has what you need. The Haugs have been friends of mine for 10 years and they’ll take very good care of you! (Tell ’em that Ryan from Tractor Zoom sent you!)
First, let’s cut to the chase before we get into some of the stories. As of the time I publish this post, you’ll have about 10 days to get to Avoca to see Farmall Land. After 5PM on Sunday, September 27, Jerry & Joyce Mez are retiring, off to travel the world and spoil their grandkids! Subsequently, our friends at Girard Auctions will be sending everything off to new owners. Everything will be sold through a series of online auctions (the land and the buildings too) beginning later this fall. You’ll be able to find all of the details for the tractors and equipment on Tractor Zoom, so keep an eye on the site!
Now…on to the stories.
In the event you’re a red fan, the long lines of flourescent lights probably give it away. Today, we’re celebrating one of the coolest collections of interesting red iron on the planet. Welcome to Farmall Land USA.
If you’ve ever wondered what true passion looks like, Farmall Land USA is where you’ll find the answer. From the moment you walk in the doors and sign the 3-ring binder guest book on the table, you’ll not only see the passion – you’ll feel it. Over the past 50 or so years, Jerry & Joyce Mez have built an utterly amazing collection of the red machinery that built this country. They genuinely appreciate the opportunity to show it to anybody who walks through their doors, too.
The Dealership Days
Jerry’s grown up around red tractors almost all of his life. The Mez family moved to Avoca, IA from Falls City, NE and Max (Jerry’s father) opened Avoca Implement in 1943 when Jerry was just a toddler. The dealership was quite successful, and eventually expanded to locations in Greenfield, IA and (for a short time) Atlantic, IA. Jerry & Joyce sold both dealerships to Titan Machinery in 2008. The museum has been their full-time focus since then.
“Since I was 3 years old, everything I have is attributable to farm equipment,” Jerry said in a 2010 INTERVIEW.
Jerry began collecting red tractors in the mid-70s when he got out of the Army. The first one in the collection? One of the first tractors his Dad ever sold, a Farmall F-20. It was all downhill from there! Jerry & Joyce have close to 220 tractors in the collection now (nearly all of them pre-merger tractors), give or take a few. You’ll usually find about 150 on display at any given time.
The Farmall 1206
So what’s his favorite? A Farmall 1206 narrow-front that his father sold new out of the Avoca dealership to a local farmer in 1966. Jerry bought it back from the original owner in 1988. When I last talked with Jerry in late June, this 1206 was one of the few that he was planning on keeping after retiring from the museum.
The ih 4300
In addition to his 1206, another favorite that Jerry really enjoys showing off is a 1962 IH 4300 – one of the rarest production tractors IH ever built! IH didn’t build many to start with (I think the number was in the low-mid 40s; they were essentially built-to-order by Hough). Many were used pretty hard by construction companies, and Jerry believes there are only about six of them known to still exist. Weighing in at 30,000 pounds and sporting an 817-cube turbocharged inline six mated to an Allison automatic transmission, this one is definitely a crowd favorite. He looked for it for about 15 years, too, and the restoration process was extensive (it was a basketcase when he got it). All in all, it took two full nights to clean it up enough to see what they were working with for the restoration!
The museum typically sees well over 5000 visitors per year, and Jerry figures that he’s had conversations with guests from every continent and every state in the union as well! One of the last times I visited, I actually had an international (no pun intended) encounter while drooling over a wide-fendered Wheatland 1256! I met a man who was here in the states from Australia. He really wasn’t involved with agriculture in his day job back home, but he’d heard about Farmall Land and wanted to stop. “Stuff like this, and the people who run this museum is what makes America so great!” he said. Indeed it does, my friend.
The farm and garden tractors themselves are one thing, but that’s not all that makes up this amazing exhibit. Additionally, the memorabilia and examples of other products that International Harvester (fridges, freezers, etc.) built is mind-blowing! Altogether, I’m sure there are well over a thousand die-cast toys ranging from 1/64th up to 1/8th scale, plus a load of nice pedal tractors too! Basically, according to Jerry, “If it’s red, we’ve probably got it.”
So, like I’d mentioned earlier…if you want to see this collection in all of its glory, you need to make some plans within the next week or so. After September 27, the doors will close permanently.
Additionally, here are some details if you decide to make the trip!
Address: 2101 N. Lavista Heights Rd., Avoca, IA 51521
(Basically, it’s at the intersection of I-80 and Iowa 59 off of exit 40; an hour or so west of Des Moines, or about 45 minutes east of Omaha.)
Hours: Closed on Monday, Tuesday – Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM.
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for 13-18, $3 for 5-12, and free under 5!
COVID-19 rules do apply as well, folks, so out of respect for Jerry & Joyce’s wishes you’ll want to have a mask with you, and wear it while in the museum.
All in all, there’s no community of people nicer than tractor people, and honestly, folks like Jerry & Joyce Mez and their small staff are the reason why. They absolutely love what they do, and love to share their passion for tractors with anybody who stops in to say hello. They’ve given very selflessly to the industry, farmers, and tractor collectors. In fact, I think I’m going to sneak away on Saturday the 26th and stop in one more time to say thank you. I hope I’ll see you there, too.
Finally, here’s a gallery of photos from several of my visits, as well as a few shots from Girard Auctions! At the end of the day, though, neither my photos nor anybody else’s do Farmall Land proper justice. You really need to take it in for yourself.
Again, special thanks to my friend Lee Klancher and the team over at Octane Press for lending me the photo of that Jerry’s beautiful 1206. Lee wrote a great piece about one of his visits to Farmall Land. He’s got lots of photos that I didn’t get during my visits, too! Read that here.
The story of how White Farm Equipment 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 that it needed to make a big splash on the market in order to establish itself quickly. They 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. ?
In a nutshell, WFE wanted to build a tractor that checked off all of these boxes.
If you think about it, that’s pretty much the same thing that Toyota did when they built the RAV4 in 1995 (sans the hinge in the middle).
Overall, they 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. No…that’s not true. The 4-150 wasn’t a deep tillage tractor. It was built as a beefed-up rowcrop 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? 3300 original hours! And, assuming it hasn’t been beaten like a red-headed stepchild, the 3208 Cat 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! It sells on Thursday, September 10 at an auction up near Madison, WI!
Now, that said, these motors are a little finicky. They don’t all run like the Lustik family’s Silver Bullet alky superstock pulling tractor. They don’t like to be lugged down real low, nor do they like real high RPMs for extended periods of time. Some of ’em tend to use quite a bit of oil, too, so make sure you’ve got plenty of that around. They DO sound pretty darn good with straight pipes, though. There’s a really good video from a knowledgeable Oliver guy on YouTube out there from a few years ago where he takes his for a drive (after he’d just bought it). Watch it here.
Here’s a little bit of the advertising that WFE put out when they released the 4-150. Interesting stuff!
In the late 70s, Steiger built some pretty unbelievable machines. This Tiger III was one of them.
Steiger built the Tiger III ST450 from 1977-1982, but actually encompassed two different models. They built the first 173 tractors with a Cummins KTA-1150 rated at 470 horse (this tractor is number 158). For the 1980 model year, they changed motors on the ST450 to a 450-horse Cat 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 30.5s 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″ 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 70s; and honestly I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that this was one of them. This tractor is definitely built for it; it sells with 4900 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 $44K, 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 doesn’t come close to $50K by the time the hammer drops. The market for tractors like this is fairly small, but the right buyer will love it!
This one is for my buddy Nellson. He likes Case’s crab-walking tractors because they had the oomph for heavy tillage, but didn’t sacrifice the maneuverability of a smaller tractor. He also thinks the 2670 stretched the 504 a little too far even with the intercooler, but that’s a discussion for another beer. ?
In the mid-70s, J.I. Case was a pretty well-established player in the game with their rigid-frame 4WD tractors. Farmers loved the 2470 for its ability to handle like a 2WD but with the grunt to run heavy implements…but they needed more capability. Farming was growing at unprecedented levels, and farmers were planting more ground than ever before.
So…Case turned up the wick on the 2470, and brought out the 2670. It was everything that the 2470 was, but with about 50 extra horse. It took a lot more than simply turning the pump screw to get there, though. To make all that extra power, it took a different injector design, a bigger pump, and an intercooler!
This particular 2670 Traction King lives about 45 minutes north of Sedalia, MO until the end of August. It’s got just under 8000 hours on it, and it’s in surprisingly good shape for its age. It’s not a museum piece per se – the new owner is going to need to address some hydraulic issues. Still, the tin work is fairly clean, it’s got reasonably good rubber, and it’s in good running condition as far as I can tell!
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. For now, I’m still working on tracking that part down.
The Minneapolis Moline G1000 in and of itself isn’t the world’s most uncommon tractor (the factory churned out about 7400 of them), but there were a few of them that are super-rare. The G1000 Wheatland accounts for about 37% of the total production (just under 2900) according to some research done by the folks over at Michigan Moline.
The Rice Special:
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 TX 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. However, to be a Rice Special, it had to be ordered with rice tires (23.1-30s, I believe) and there may have been one or two other things. Regardless, they apparently have a special character or two somewhere on the serial tag (I don’t have a photo of the serial tag for this tractor, unfortunately.)
So here’s where the story gets interesting. There were only 89 4WD G1000 Wheatlands built, but I think there were only two Rice Specials. I’ve done a fair amount of poking around and I only found record of one other one – it’s painted red and it’s got a cab on it.
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 Wheatland Rice Special with front wheel assist? Furthermore, if there was another, where is it now?
The world may never know. I’m trying to run down the gentleman in Texas who owns the other G1000 Rice Special. If the two of us get our heads together and figure this out, I’ll update this post!
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! (email@example.com)
Until then, I’ll continue pacing the floor at night long trying to solve the mystery…