A Gold Demo, a hay maker, and two ACs walk into a bar…

Interesting Iron 0610
A demonstrator, a haymaker, and two ACs walk into a bar…(stop me if you’ve heard this one) – Click the photo to check out this week’s Interesting Iron!

Check out this week’s Interesting Iron!

Back when I started this blog a year or two ago, I used to pick three (or more) interesting tractors to write about. Over time, I moved to a one-tractor column. However, if the past few weeks are any indication, I might end up going back to that 3-piece format! Our TZ auctioneers are listing all sorts of neat stuff these days! It’s tough to choose a single tractor lately!

So this week, it’s three (or four, or nine, depending on how you look at it) neat tractors. A Gold Demo 826 from Michigan, a hay maker from Minnesota, and seven weird-lookin’ orange ones from New York and Kentucky! Let’s get to it!

The Michigan Demonstrator: 1970 Farmall 826

Sykora 826 Demo
Back in 1970, when a farmer bought a Farmall Gold Demo, the dealership repainted it before delivery (which is what IH wanted). Such was the case with this little 826! Click the link to see the auction details on this one!

In 1970, Harvester’s marketing department rolled out the Gold Demonstrator promo to help push sales of the 544, 656, 826, 1026, and 1456. A handful of each model were painted with gold paint (IH Truck Gold Metallic 4357, if you’re playing along at home) and shipped to dealers nationwide. During the promo, those tractors worked in fields all across the country, convincing farmers to upgrade machines.

After the promo, dealerships sold the tractors as demo units. The lion’s share of them were repainted after being sold (as was the case with this one). However, if the buyer liked the gold paint, some dealerships would forego the paint job. The folks in Melrose Park frowned on it, but it did happen from time to time.

Sykora 826 Demo Hood
One of the telltale signs that a tractor is a Gold Demo is original IH Truck Gold Metallic 4357 paint on the underside of the hood. When dealerships repainted these tractors, the underside usually didn’t get re-sprayed.

This one lives up near Alpena, MI pretty close to Lake Huron. Our friends at Sykora Auction Services are handling this Saturday’s sale. It’s part of a pretty good-sized red collection!

Original Gold Demos are rare finds these days; they don’t show up very often. If you’re looking at one, make sure it’s the real deal! Look for IH 4357 gold paint on the underside of the hood and a black operator’s console. If you find those, check the serial number and make sure it’s a ’70. If you can check off those boxes, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a Gold Demo. I’ve looked this one over pretty carefully, and based on the photos, I think it’s legit.

Weird-lookin’ ACs in New York & Kentucky

Goodrich Allis G
This parade-ready AC Model G sells at a Goodrich consignment sale this Saturday! Click the photo to see the listing!

The Allis Chalmers G is a neat little tractor in my book. They’re not super-rare, as AC churned out about 30,000 of them between 1948-1955, but they’re quite unique. The G is light (1300 pounds, give or take), so most of the weight was hung over the rear wheels so it wouldn’t lose traction.

Allis sold the G as sort of an all in one system, and offered a whole slew of row crop implements for them – everything from tillage to planters! They were held in place by a couple of wedge pins, so implements could be changed in about five minutes. Handy for small operations!

Gilliam Allis G
This little guy, along with his five brothers and sisters, sell at a Kentucky farm equipment auction on Saturday! They’re still in their working clothes, too! Click the photo to see the sale bill!

These little guys turned out to be REALLY popular on veggie farms back in the day, and you’ll still find farmers using them today! One of the ones on Wally Gilliam’s sale even has a 16′ boom sprayer mounted on the back!

Overall, these are still useful tractors that are easy to work on. Parts are still available for the 10-horse Continental L-head engine, as well as the gearbox (from a Model B). They’re usually fairly cheap to buy, too; I’d be shocked if these sold for more than a couple thousand bucks apiece.

I’ve got a buddy in Louisville who makes the greatest pickles on the planet, and one of these tractors would be PERFECT for his operation! Oddly enough, the auction is being held this Saturday in Louisville…

Jeremy, if you’re reading this…click here and BUY ONE!

The Minnesota Hay Maker: IH 986

Maring 986
This super-clean 986 sells at a Matt Maring auction next Saturday, June 18! Click the photo to take a look at the auction details and see a lot more photos!

The 986 was a bread and butter tractor for IH in the late 70s. They turned out over 20,000 of these workhorses between 1976-1981. It was the biggest of the naturally-aspirated models, squeezing 117 horse out of the 436 inch inline six. They were quite popular in the midwest as do-it-all tractors – especially with hay farmers.

Such is the case with this one. The owner was a die-hard red guy, and it was a big horse on his farm. He took very good care of it, too. I talked to one of Matt Maring’s guys about it yesterday, and while they couldn’t say that the 2458 hours were original, it’s a strong runner, and clean as a whistle inside and out!

I know most of these columns I write focus on rare tractors or oddballs, but that’s not the only criteria I use to find Interesting Iron. Interesting Iron also includes stuff like this 986…a clean farm tractor that’s been treated well. It won’t set any crazy auction price records, but it’ll bring good money when the hammer falls next weekend. There’ll ALWAYS be a strong market for tractors of any age when their owners take good care of them.

So, what’s the takeaway? Always take good care of your stuff. Maintain it properly. Treat it right, and it’ll treat you right when you trade it in or sell it!

The Freight Train: Allis Chalmers 7080

Allis Chalmers 7080
This big AC 7080 sold on August 26, 2020. Click the photo to see orange tractors selling at auction soon!

Wait…what??? Allis made tractors and stuff…not trains!

I’ll get to it. There’s a tie-in here. Stick with me, please.

The Allis Chalmers 7080 was the flagship of the 7000 series line, and the biggest 2WD tractor they’d ever built. It was a big orange boss, and everything on it was built for business. The engineers installed an intercooler on the turbocharged 426 and cranked the horsepower up to 210. In fact, I think the 7080 was the first 2WD tractor to break the 200-horsepower mark.

Now, that said, most of the guys I know with 426 experience say that the motor is a little sketchy when you run it hard for extended periods of time. One guy I know even goes as far as recommending that owners detune them a bit for longevity. Still…even detuned, a 7080 will make a heck of a hay baling tractor!

This particular Allis Chalmers 7080 lives in Kansas for now. Personally, I think this would make a nice 4H/FFA/YF project for some high school kid to restore. Evidently, it’s spent a few nights under the stars, and it has some pump issues. Whomever picks this one up will have some work to do, but when finished it’ll be a pretty solid workhorse!

Finally, the reference to a freight train in the title is a throwback to some of the marketing surrounding this tractor’s release. Back in the mid-70s, Allis hooked one of these to a string of Union Pacific 30 rail cars and a caboose, weighing in at over 900 tons! Nobody knew whether the 7080 could yank ’em down the tracks, but sure enough, it did! Carl Stevens drove the big orange locomotive and even got the tractor into 3rd gear! (He also told an Allis dealer, “The seat of that tractor developed a permanent pucker when we tried to stop that string of rail cars!”)??

Want to see the TV commercial that Allis Chalmers released with the train? Watch it here.

Looking for more Allis Chalmers? Start your search here.

Super Beast Mode: The Allis Chalmers 8550

allis chalmers 8550 super beast
Big. Bad. Orange. This one-owner 8550 sells on Tuesday, August 4! Click the photo for the details on this monster!

Allis Chalmers was covering new ground during the 70s. The ground-breaking 7000 series was selling well, and they’d dipped their toes in the 4WD tractor market with the Steiger-built 440 earlier in the decade. Things were going well enough that in 1976, they unleashed “The Beast” – the 7580. It was AC’s first in-house 4WD tractor, and sported a bunch of nice improvements over the outgoing 440.

But…at 186 PTO horse, it was a little wussy for such a big tractor. Customers needed more.

In 1977, AC unleashed a badder animal…8550, known as The Super Beast. Where The Beast got its power from the 426, The Super Beast used one of the biggest motors Allis ever stuffed in a tractor. 731 ci of twin-turbo muscle, rated at 253 PTO horse! This tractor was literally so big that they had to disassemble part of it to get it into the Nebraska lab to test it!

This particular 8550 is a one-owner ’79 model with only 5342 hours, and it’s in GREAT shape for its age! Not only that, it still sees regular use on the farm! It lives in Indiana until Tuesday…then we’ll see where this big tractor ends up!

BTW: Funny story about another Super Beast…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 it’s still working on a farm in Ohio today!

Super Beasts don’t come up for auction every day…but lots of other Allis Chalmers equipment does! Browse it all here!