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!

An IH Black Stripe 766 with a 37-year paper trail! (UPDATED 6/8/21)

IH Black Stripe 766
This Nebraska IH Black Stripe 766 has a tremendously detailed service history! It sells at an auction on June 6!

See the details on this tractor.

The 766 was the smallest of the big-frame 66-series tractors, and it was also the one that Harvester made the fewest of. It wasn’t a bad seller, though. It was – and still is – a popular tractor. The one you see here is a 1976 model.

Sizewise, the 766 is pretty much the same as all of its bigger brothers. At a distance, you’d have a hard time telling a 766 from a 1066. Basically, there are only two distinguishing features between them. A 766’s wheelbase was 2″ shorter and sold with 18.4-34s (a 1066 came with 18.4-38s).

(I suppose if we’re getting really nitpicky, you can see more of the fan shroud on a 766 because the engine is a little shorter than a 414/436/466 in the bigger tractors. But I digress…)

Pick your flavor

The 766 was the only tractor in the series that had a gas or diesel option. Actually, for 1971, the gas engine was the only one available. From 1972-1975, farmers could choose between the two. Ultimately, the gasser was phased out after 1975.

IH Black Stripe 766
In November 1975, the familiar red & white design was replaced by the iconic “Black Stripe” design. (This one is legit, but owners have been cloning them ever since.)

The gas version was a 291 cubic inch naturally aspirated inline six. It made good power, but man alive, that thing was thirsty! Definitely not for the faint of wallet! However, the one major advantage that the gas engine had was that it would start anywhere…it was good for cold climates. It never needed to be plugged in! -10º and you needed to do chores? Bundle up, turn the key, and go get ’em done.

The diesel version of the 766 got a 360 cubic inch naturally aspirated inline six. It made about 85 horse give or take, and like many of the other engines influenced by Harvester’s German engineering team, it was a tough little sucker. In fact, I believe International still uses a turbocharged version of it in school buses today! They’re great motors that can handle a lot of abuse. They’ve even been turned into alcohol-burning monsters in pulling tractors. There’s a guy I go pulling with from Missouri who has a single engine mod with one of those little motors in it and he must be pushing 1500+ horsepower with it! So yeah…they’re pretty tough little things!

Plowboy Express
Pro Tip: If you run a single-engine mod and Danny Metcalf shows up at your pull…he’s going to make you work for the win. This thing is BONKERS!

Regionally popular at the time…

When I said that the 766 was a popular tractor, I probably need to qualify that. Let’s say that it was regionally popular. There were lots of places where you’d be hard pressed to find a single 7, but every other barn in the county has a 10 or a 14. Usually, those places were heavy on corn and soybean production. On the other hand, you wouldn’t have to look too hard to find one on a Wisconsin dairy farm. I know these are pretty popular in western New York and PA where there’s a lot of dairy, too. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if this one ends up going to one of those states, in fact.

That is…if it doesn’t go to a collector, which it very well could.

The one you can bid on…

IH Black Stripe 766
After 37 years of service, it’s time for this one to go to a new owner! Click the photo for the details!

Russ Moravec, one of our longtime Tractor Zoom auction partners from Nebraska, is handling this retirement auction. We were talking about on the phone a few hours ago, and he told me that he’d gotten a lot of calls on it already. I wasn’t surprised to hear this – there’s some really nice older machinery on this sale!

I suspect that this tractor is going to garner a LOT of attention. Let’s face it: any IH Black Stripe is desirable, and the smallest “big” tractor in the series has its own share of desirability too. It’s a legit Black Stripe, and in fact, it’s a fairly late serial number as well (17336 – the final 766 was 18319).

This particular tractor lives in Schuyler, NE, about an hour and change northwest of Omaha, and is owned by Milo Jedlicka. I called him earlier this afternoon to chat for a few minutes about it. He’s the second owner of the tractor. He bought it from Victors Equipment in Fremont, NE on June 20, 1984, and it’s lived a pretty easy life since then. Milo is a small farmer, and for him, small equipment is the practical choice. Believe it or not, that 766 was his big horse for a while! Recently, it’s served him well as a loader tractor (the loader will sell separately, I believe).

The Paper Trail…

In addition to farming with the tractor, Milo is trained as a diesel mechanic, and has always worked on his own equipment. “It’s never been to the dealership since I bought it, other than once or twice for some warranty work,” he told me. Furthermore, Milo kept a detailed log book of all the maintenance on the tractor (as he has with nearly every piece of equipment on the sale). Every fluid change, every filter change, every major service. It’s all in a notebook that’ll go with the tractor.

IH Black Stripe 766 Maintenance Log
Milo Jedlicka kept a detailed maintenance log for every tractor on the farm. Here’s the first page of the 766’s record. (It’ll sell with the tractor.)

The hour meter shows about 2800 hours, but Milo thinks that the tach may have been changed prior to coming home to the Jedlicka farm in 1984. He never was able to confirm that. However, based on the condition of the motor when he got it (you can see that he noted a major overhaul), he suspects that the tractor may have closer to 5000 hours on it.

Honestly, though, I wouldn’t worry about that. A tractor that’s been on a family farm like Milo’s where it’s been maintained and documented like that? I don’t get the feeling that you’re going to find any surprises with a tractor like that, y’know?

What’s it worth?

At the end of the day, probably a fair bit more than you might think.

This one has a lot going for it.

    • Detailed maintenance records. That’ll add a LOT of value.
    • Relatively low hours for its age.
    • IH Black Stripe tractors (all models) have been faked for years. This one is legit.
    • 766s are sought-after.
    • Cosmetically, it’s in good shape. The tin is in great shape – nice and straight. I’ll bet you’d be surprised how good that paint could look if somebody spent some time working it over.
    • Corn and soybeans are doing unbelievably well right now, which means that farmers may be looking to upgrade/add machinery. A 766 would be a pretty major upgrade for a tired 560 auger tractor. It’d be dynamite with a 6′ mower on the back during the summers, too!
    • Lastly (and this probably ties back to the last point), dealers are having a hard time getting inventory of any size right now. While it might not have some of the creature comforts of late-model tractors, the fact is…it’s available and it’s mechanically sound. There are definitely buyers out there that’d pay a thousand or two more just for the fact that it’s available!

Taking all of those things into consideration, and after looking at our Iron Comps database for a bit, I think it might take $15K or more to take it home! That might sound crazy, but a legit IH Black Stripe is desirable and the market is hot right now!

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with this tractor!

See the details on this tractor.

See the full list of farm equipment on the sale.

Update: This one’s a record-setter, folks!

SOLD24500
Well that escalated quickly…

Boy, was I wrong when I said that it’d take $15K to take this one home! Congrats to Russ Moravec and his team for an utterly amazing sale! They set the bar pretty darn high for mid-sized tractors like this one! They beat the previous record like it owed ’em money! $7000 higher than any other 766 that’s ever rolled across an auction block in at least 20 years…maybe more!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There’ll ALWAYS be a strong market for clean, well-maintained farm equipment.

Find out what YOUR farm equipment is worth here…

The Farmall 560: Bad News Travels Fast…

Farmall 560
This one-owner Farmall 560 lives on a Wyoming hay farm until November 10, 2020…maybe it needs to come live at YOUR place? Our friends at Musser Bros. Auction & Real Estate are handling this auction. They sure know how to take great pictures, don’t they? Click here to get the auction details and see a bunch more photos!

They say that bad news travels at the speed of light, and in 1959, International Harvester found that out the hard way with the Farmall 560. It resulted in one of the first “major” tractor recalls in history!

Now…that said, this particular tractor doesn’t have anything wrong with it. I literally just hung up the phone with the seller out in Wyoming. It’s a one-owner tractor that’s never had any major issues. Obviously it’s slept outside a few nights, but mechanically it’s pretty sound. The hour meter was replaced a couple of times, so the hours aren’t accurate, but it starts right up and drives just fine!

Sadly, that wasn’t the way it worked out for some of these tractors, though. If you ask an older farmer about the Farmall 560, some of ’em will tell you that they were the worst thing that Harvester ever built (even if they never owned one). Retired dealers might say the same thing, depending on who you ask (skip to about 12:30 to hear Paul Wallem’s take on the 560 and why it failed)!

For a few years during the late forties and early fifties, Harvester was broadening its horizons. Management felt like the ag equipment market was hitting a saturation point, so they set their sights on other markets. Development dollars went towards residential products like fridges and freezers, trucks, and lots of other things. The tractor division of IH wasn’t making great strides in development, they were sort of set on cruise control. They made some incremental improvements here and there, but other than that and some minor cosmetic refreshes, the tractors remained essentially unchanged from the stuff from the late 40s.

In the mid-50s, though, they got back on track as farmers began expanding their operations and asking for more capability. The 60-series was a new, modern looking machine with six-cylinder power. They were cutting-edge tractors poised to take the market by storm.

Except for one thing.

They broke a cardinal rule of product development.

Never release a product until you’ve beaten it to death…twice.

Harvester made a late-stage decision to put a bigger motor in the Farmall 560 so it could compete with the Deere’s 730, and they didn’t test the drivetrain hard enough. The rear end was a legacy piece from the 400/450, and the extra power from the new motor accelerated bearing wear in the bull gear assembly. Basically the ball bearings deteriorated enough that they fell out of the cage anda jammed in between the bull gear and the cast rear end housing. At that point, the housing would go kablooey!

Bearing Failure
Here’s what that bearing failure looks like.

At the end of the day, though, I want to be clear. The failure was NOT a widespread thing. In all actuality, the failures were pretty regional; they usually happened in areas where farmers were pulling 5-bottom plows in sticky, gumbo-y soil. BUT…the failures were catastrophic, and 2/3 of American households had telephones at this point.

Like I said…bad news travels fast. Word traveled from the field to the feed store, and then to the phone. It didn’t take long before it became pretty highly publicized and Harvester had to do something about it. In mid-1959, they issued a full recall of all 460s, 560s, and 660s whether they’d blown out the rear end or not. Dealerships would then replace the rear end parts, and IHC would eat the bill for it all.

It was a costly lesson for Harvester, too. It’s rumored that they spent $19 million bucks to fix those tractors, which was an enormous amount of money at the time (in 2020 dollars, that’s over $167 million). In a tremendous stroke of luck, though, IH had their best sales year ever in 1959!

At the end of the day, the Farmall 560 was – and still is – a great tractor. Dealerships fixed the tractors with issues, and Harvester implemented those fixes on the assembly line as well. If you’ve got a 560 today and it runs and drives, you’ve got nothing to worry about. I doubt there’s more than a hundred tractors out there that haven’t had the fix already applied!

Fun fact: Want to know how to spot a tractor that was part of the recall and fixed at the dealership? Look at the serial number. There’s a triangle after the serial number that the dealership added to each one that they fixed.

Farmall 560 serial tag
Here’s a Farmall 560 serial tag. That triangle signifies that a dealership replaced the rear end under the recall.

One more thing; if you need a gift idea for the IH fans in your life, I’ll bet they don’t have Paul Wallem’s book! Paul was an IHC executive in the fifties and then owned several successful Illinois IH dealerships into the late 80s. He recently published The Breakup: What Really Happened. It’s a terrific insider’s look at the multiple problems that came together at the wrong time to take down a farm equipment giant. It’s a great read!

The Breakup: What Really Happened
Click the photo to pick up a copy of the book for yourself or another IH fan in your life. You’ll be glad you did! (This is my copy. You can’t have it.? )

Looking for a 560 at auction? Start here.

How the Case IH Magnum built a bridge…

Magnum 7130
Bidding wraps up on this one-owner, 7200 hour Case IH Magnum 7130 on August 6, 2020. Click the photo to see the details on this beauty!

I’ve written about the Case IH Magnum plenty of times before, and I’ll probably do it again, because there are a lot different angles to the Magnum story. It wasn’t that they were just great tractors; for many farmers, they still set the standard!

The process of merging J.I. Case and IH wasn’t exactly easy. With overlapping equipment lines, models on both sides were scrapped. It was a business move, but inevitably, feelings got hurt. Whether perceived or real, there was definitely a wedge between Case and IH employees (dealers too).

Everybody in the new company knew their future depended two things. America had to survive the farm crisis, and the Magnum had to be a big hit. The employees knew they had a really solid product; still, if either of those two things didn’t happen, those employees were going to be looking for new jobs in a time when new jobs weren’t real easy to get. When you’re fighting for your job, you tend to band together and bust it a lot harder.

The Magnum became the bridge-builder and put the “us” and “them” mentality to bed for Case and IH. They banded together because they had to, and built a tractor that America still relies on to this day. Hard to argue with that kind of determination, isn’t it?

This Magnum 7130 MFWD is a super-clean one-owner tractor with just under 7200 hours on the meter. It lives in Montana right now, and our friends at Pifer’s Auction & Realty are sending it home to a new owner on Thursday, August 6! Click the photo to go to the listing!

Browse Case IH Magnum tractors going to auction near you!
Fun Fact – The first Magnum off the line was a 7140 MFWD. Case IH worked it so hard that it was eventually scrapped. The 2nd one off the line? It was a 7130, and it still exists today!

International 1466: A Wisconsin Workhorse!

international 1466

Ask a red tractor fan what their top three models are. I’ll bet that either a International 1066 or an International 1466 slots in there somewhere – and for good reason. They’re great tractors! They’re one of the best (and last) muscle tractors ever built, and they’ll still work all day long!

The 66-series tractors combined the proven drive trains of the 26/56 models with brand new 300 and 400-series motors. IH invested $25 million bucks in the R&D of these things, and the result set a pretty high bar for their competitors! The direct injection motors were cheaper to run than older designs. With rising fuel and input costs, this sold a lot of farmers.

The International 1466 was the big hoss for most of its 5-year run. It was beefier than the 1066, with a DT436 rated at 145 horse, bigger axles and brakes, and a heavier clutch. Overall, it was a good performer in the field. I’ve heard some farmers say that the rear ends are failure-prone if overworked. I look at it this way; as long as you’re not dragging a 40′ field cultivator with it, I think you’ll probably be fine.

So what’s the story with this particular 1466? According to our friends at Wilkinson Auction & Realty, it lived a good life on a small dairy farm in SW Wisconsin. The current owner overhauled and painted it 9 years ago. Original hours are unknown. I’m told that it runs and drives well; it definitely looks right with those 20.8s on it, too!

Bidding has held steady (it’s at $3700 right now), but I’m know it’ll start climbing later today. My guess is that this one ends up in the $12-14K range when it’s all done. If you want a nice 14 to keep your 10 company, this one is worth watching! Bidding wraps up tomorrow morning, so don’t wait too long to get your bids in!

Hammer Price: $16,000.

Click here to see what other IH equipment is changing hands at auction in the near future!

FU-235D: The French Farmall tractor!

French Farmall FU 235 D tractor at collector tractor auction
McCormick Deering FU-235D – This one lives in Wyoming for the next few hours! Click the photo to see more photos and details and a link to get in on the bidding!

This nifty little French Farmall tractor is the FU-235D. It’s a 26-horse diesel-powered utility tractor. IHC built it just outside of Paris from 1957-1959, and never brought it to the North American market. I’ll bet you couldn’t find more than 10 of ’em here in the States! It’s on an auction that ends later today.

Mechanically, it’s very similar to the Super C. In fact, the gas rowcrop and utility models actually share the same engine. The diesel version, however, has a European-only FD-123 motor.

I did a little digging and found out that before it went to Wyoming, this tractor spent some time with owners in Wisconsin and Nebraska. The current owner tore it apart for an extensive restoration about 200 hours ago. As I understand it, he basically rebuilt or replaced just about everything on the tractor!  That’s a very good thing, too, because parts for the FD-123 motor aren’t exactly plentiful here in North America. Bob (the tractor’s owner) did the heavy lifting for you on this one when he did the restoration! No expensive and hard-to-find parts to buy, and no language barriers to overcome to make sure you’re getting what you need! Truthfully, this one is about as parade-ready as you can get! All you need to do is fuel it up, get in the seat, and drive it!

If you like this little French Farmall tractor, and you’re up for a little more history on Farmalls and Internationals sold across the globe, you should probably head over to our friends at Octane Press and pick up a copy of their book, Red Tractors 1958-2018. The first chapter picks up with a nice writeup of IH’s French operations! (Actually, if you’re a tractor nerd, you really need to have this book on your shelf anyway. Lee Klancher assembled a TERRIFIC team of historians and former IH employees to write this book, and the finished product is awesome!)

Final Hammer Price: $3100

The Most Interesting Equipment We’ve Seen Cross The Auction Block in 2019!

“Ryan, you must see interesting equipment auctions all the time. What’s the coolest stuff you’ve ever seen on Tractor Zoom?”

I get this question all the time, and we DO see some pretty interesting equipment auctions every week. In fact, I write a fun weekly email about that; it’s called Interesting Iron, and you can sign up for it here!

Continue reading “The Most Interesting Equipment We’ve Seen Cross The Auction Block in 2019!”

What do I do with Grandpa’s old Farmall? Help!

Farmall M tractor
If you don’t know what to do with Grandpa’s old Farmall, keep reading. We can help point you in the right direction. If you’re looking to buy an old Farmall, click the photo to browse tractors at auction.

We get questions like this sent to our Facebook page and emails all the time. Typically, they come from family members who are trying to tie up loose ends on a loved one’s estate. It’s usually an old John Deere tractor that Uncle Ronnie tinkered with in the garage, or Grandpa’s old Farmall. Every now and again, however, it’s something entirely different. Two weeks ago, someone needed advice on how to get a combine removed from a property that they’d just purchased. Continue reading “What do I do with Grandpa’s old Farmall? Help!”