Interesting tractors and trucks selling soon, and tying up some $60K loose ends…

Collage of photos of three red tractors and a semi

You can always tell when it’s getting close to planting, harvest, and the end of the year. That’s when there’s always a massive amount of auction inventory that hits Tractor Zoom. Along with that, you’ll usually find some interesting tractors showing up too!

Such has been the case the past couple of weeks, actually. Our auctioneers have had some terrific pre-harvest sales, and there’s more coming!

Let’s hit some interesting tractors and trucks crossing the auction block, and then we’ll get to those $60K loose ends.

Allie: The 1939 Allis Chalmers B Low Rider!

Interesting Allis Chalmers B at a tractor auction
This is Allie, the 1939 Allis Chalmers B low rider from Madison, South Dakota!

See the Tractor Zoom listing for Allie here – lots more photos!

I love rat-roddy stuff, and I always have. So, when Jared Sutton listed this one late last week, I kind of fell for it!

Collectors and hot rodders have been modifying antique tractors for years now. The process is relatively straightforward; basically, the front axle turns upside down and the rear drop boxes rotated 90º. After that, it’s a process of relocating stuff (tie rods, for instance), flipping the final drives and swapping them left/right so the brakes still work, and a lot of cosmetic stuff.

This one is nicely done, too. It’s been outfitted with elephant-ear fenders (which are from a WD, I believe) and the exhaust has been re-routed under the tractor. It’s been sprayed red, too – I wouldn’t swear to it, but it looks quite a bit like IH 2150 red. That would make sense, too. Jack Bader, the man who owned this tractor, was a red collector. This is the one and only Allis Chalmers on his estate sale.

What’s it worth? Honestly, I don’t know. These low-rider tractors don’t tend to change hands very often, and because of that, there aren’t a lot of comps. This one is a fairly standard build with not a lot of extra custom touches (there are a few of these out there that are pretty wild – custom exhaust manifolds, custom wheel and tire setups, crazy paint jobs, etc.). It’s well-built, and pretty well-known, too. Bidding currently sits at $2100, but I’d imagine it’ll go for at least double that.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t REALLY want to get in on the bidding for this one, but my lovely wife made it pretty clear that a single-seat low-rider tractor was about the LAST thing we need…

(That may rule this one out, but if I can find a two-seater…..) 😏

1987 Ford LTL 9000: Packin’ 4 ¼…

1987 Ford LTL 9000
This is a darn good-lookin’ daycab!

See the Tractor Zoom listing for this Nebraska Ford LTL 9000 – lots of photos!

The LTL 9000 came out in the mid-70s when Ford decided they wanted to play in the long-haul game with Kenworth and Peterbilt. The trucks were well-built and pretty stout, but they didn’t come with the same kind of options for powertrains and drivelines. As a result, they didn’t sell nearly as well as the W900 or the Pete 359/379. They’re still pretty darn nice trucks, though, and the styling is a little different than what you typically see running up and down the road everyday.

This one is an ’87 model day cab that, for the time being, lives in Ashland, NE. The owner restored it in 2013. It’s powered by one of the best analog powerplants you can get, too – the venerable CAT 3406B. Granted, it’s not tuned up quite like a Michigan Special, but at 435 horse, it’ll do just fine with a hopper bottom on the back! It’ll do it with some style, too!

LTL9000 Selective
Somebody took their time on this one and did it right. Lots more photos at the link up above!

IH 1468 MFWD

IH 1468 with a Coleman FWA front axle interesting tractor
For a lot of IH nuts, a 1468 FWA is one of the most desirable models ever!

See the Tractor Zoom listing for this South Dakota 1468 FWA!

OK, quit drooling. Actually, go ahead. I drooled over it for a few minutes too.

This is another one of the tractors on Jared Sutton’s auction this coming Saturday up in Madison, SD.

I wrote a fairly lengthy article about 1468s back in January talking about why Harvester built a V8-powered tractor (spoiler alert…it was all Marketing’s fault). Honestly, they look cool and they sound great, but they really aren’t much for farm tractors. The DV550 that sits in these things is tremendously fragile, but it DOES make a cool noise.

This one is probably no different, except for one or two important details. First, the Coleman FWA axle is pretty neat. It is hydraulically controlled front drive axle that you could add at the dealership when you ordered your tractor, or as an aftermarket deal. In the field, they did help with traction, but they also added a LOT to the tractor’s turning radius. I sent this to my buddy Chris the other day and he shot me back a text saying, “Man, that thing probably sounds cool, but it’ll take 40 acres to turn around!”

He’s probably not wrong, either, to be honest! 😂

The second thing that makes this tractor a little unique is the stack configuration. I believe that the manifolds on these tractors are interchangeable from side to side, so if you wanted the exhaust closer to the operator, you could do it. Most farmers didn’t because it was extra work and they look good the way they were. But, if your tractor is like Jack’s and has a canopy, you can make that thing a LOT quieter if you put the stacks in the back. The stacks poke just above the roofline, which is likely a lot quieter. Good for long days on a tractor ride, I’d imagine!

At any rate, while the 68s weren’t real successful in the field, time HAS been very kind to them. They are prized by collectors, and the rare ones that still have functional FWA axles from Coleman or Elwood fetch REALLY big money. I watched one sell back in March at the Mecum Gone Farmin’ Auction and it sold for $63,000! They sold another in June for just over $47,000, too. I think you’ll need at least $40K to play in this game. These tractors continue to appreciate; I don’t think we’ve seen the peak values for them yet!

A4T-1600: The Minneapolis Moline Maverick

Minneapolis Moline A4T-1600 interesting tractor at auction
Internally, the A4T tractors were termed “Project Maverick”…now’s your chance to own one!

See the Tractor Zoom listing for this big Moline in South Dakota – lots of photos!

Here’s a big fella you don’t see very often! The A4T-1600 tractors were Minneapolis Moline’s first foray into the 4WD market in the late 60s. As other manufacturers began building 4WDs, Moline saw their sales of FWA tractors start to slip. So, they assigned the project to an up and coming engineer in his 20s named Mike Verhulst. Mike took Project Maverick from start to finish, and even won an award from the state of Minnesota for his efforts!

You’ll note that this tractor isn’t painted in the familiar Prairie Gold paint scheme that most Molines wore. With White Motors owning Moline, Oliver, and Cockshutt, there was a lot of badge engineering that happened around that time so that they could appeal to multiple markets. There are multiple versions of this tractor, and they’re all badged and painted just a little differently. Oliver had a green one (the 2655), Moline had yellow ones and red ones, and White had one called the Plainsman. All the same basic tractor, but badged and painted just a little differently. Sort of confusing, right? My friend Sherry Schaefer does a good job ironing it all out in an article in this month’s Heritage Iron! Well worth picking up a subscription, or just ordering that issue on its own!

This particular A4T-1600 is an LP gas tractor that was originally an open station tractor, one of just 115 built! To make this one a little more rare yet, it was one of only 76 ordered with 23.1×30 tires. I’m not sure what the serial number was, but it’s safe to say that this one is fairly uncommon. I doubt you’ll see another one sell this year.

What’s it worth? Again, it’s a crapshoot here. They don’t change hands very frequently. I checked our Iron Comps database and only found one of these big 4WDs in it. It sold for $12,000 about two years ago. I think that one was more original, though. Still, with $5 corn, you might find a couple of bidders that’ll drive this one into $10-13K territory. You never know! It’ll be fun to watch!

Tying up a couple of loose ends…

The Empire from last week…

Last week, I wrote about Harold and his Empire 88 that he’d modified so that he and his wife Wilma could take her mobility scooter with them on tractor rides. It was a really neat piece; Harold was very thoughtful in the design process for the modifications, and they all came together really nicely.Highly modified red Empire tractor

Well, the hammer just dropped on that auction about an hour or so ago, and I’m happy to say that this little Empire sold for $3,193! That’s great money for an Empire – probably one of the highest sale prices ever seen for one of these little guys!

Did Harold end up coming out on top? If you asked him, he’d tell you that from the numbers perspective…no, he probably lost money on the tractor if you counted the value of his time in building and restoring it. But, from an overall perspective? I’ll bet he’s tickled to death with it. The modifications that he made to that tractor allowed he and his dear wife to do what they loved…together. What more could you ask for?

The F-250 Power Stroke from two weeks ago…

Boy oh boy, did this one ever generate some attention…

The auction wrapped up yesterday at about 11AM, and the final hammer price? A whopping $60,300!

Ford F-250 power stroke truck at auction
Yep, she really sold for $60,300.

When I posted something congratulating the seller, auctioneer, and the new buyer, I think I almost broke the internet. Man alive, people got bent outta shape about that price! They either thought that we were lying, or that the buyer had lost his mind, or some other ridiculous combination of things.

“SOMEBODY PAID SIXTY GRAND FOR THAT THING??? You’ve gotta be kidding!?!? That’s a $20K truck at most…what kinda drugs was the buyer taking?”

Yep, somebody actually wrote that.

You should see the stuff I had to delete from the thread on our Facebook page. I’m not gonna lie…there are some people with some real bad attitudes in this world, and they all seemed to find that post yesterday afternoon.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t understand about stuff like this:

    • New(ish) pickups can be collector’s items.
      Clean, low-mileage examples of OBS Fords with the 7.3 Power Stroke are becoming collector’s items. This one is 24 years old. 25 years old allows it to be titled as a collector car, and you can put collector car insurance on it.
    • Collector cars attract a different market of buyers.
      They buy stuff based on a different set of characteristics. For many of them, they’re looking at a truck like this as an investment. They’ll hold on to it for another ten years in a clean, climate controlled environment alongside six Mustangs, two Corvettes, and thirteen other old pickups that are just as nice. They won’t use it like a farm truck. They’ll take it out a few times a year just to keep it in good working order. The next time we’ll probably see it is when they decide they’re going to sell it at Barrett Jackson or Mecum…and when they do, some other collector is going to buy it for $100,000 and do the same thing with it!
    • Lastly, and most importantly…nobody got ripped off.
      Lots of people claimed that this truck was a fake, or that sketchy stuff was going on behind the scenes with this auction. None of that is true. Phil Wieck, the auctioneer, did a terrific job of documenting and presenting this pickup. He provided tons of photos, videos, and all of the information needed for buyers to decide whether or not it was worth it. Nobody rolled any odometers, nobody slapped 500 pounds of Bondo on a clapped-out farm truck and painted it and tried to pass it off as minty-fresh. This was, and is, the real deal. It’s a survivor pickup, and collectors want those!
    • If it proves anything, it proves that presentation matters.
      If you want to get top dollar for whatever you’re selling – whether it’s on AuctionTime, Craigslist, or anywhere else…presentation is important. Three photos, two of which are blurry…that ain’t gonna cut it. Drag it out of the barnyard, wash it and detail it, and take a ton of photos. Show the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be truthful in your descriptions, and show the documentation you have. Do yourself a favor and put the time and effort into presenting it nicely. I guarantee that it’ll help you get more for whatever you’re selling.

Some of you may take issue with me on this, and that’s fine. You’re welcome to your opinion. I get it; it’s tough to see a pickup that’s not quite “old” but definitely not “new” as anything more than a utilitarian piece of metal. A trusty pickup. Something to throw junk in the back of, and do truck stuff with.

Believe me, I get that. I drove past a Ford dealer every day on my way to high school back in Michigan, and I drooled over trucks just like this one too. To me, that doesn’t seem so long ago, but the numbers don’t lie. I graduated in 1996, so I’ve been out of high school for 25 years now. Those trucks still seem “new” (ish) to me, too.

Would I have thrown down $61K to own that pickup? No. But that’s the thing. I’m not a collector. I couldn’t justify a truck like that in my garage. But somebody did. To them, it was worth that much, and I chose to be happy for them because they got something that they really wanted! I don’t think they’re insane for paying that, either. They have a different perspective than I do, and that’s cool with me. I would hope that it’s cool with you, too…even if you think that it sold for too much money.

Somebody thought it was worth it. Be happy for them!

1947 Empire 88: “It’s more fun to do this together…”

Highly modified red Empire tractor

See the details on this unique Empire 88!

Back in July, I featured a pretty unique tractor rescued from a bone yard in Sioux City and turned into a hearse! It began life as a Thieman tractor, and Harold Boquist, a tractor collector from Nebraska, turned it into a hearse. (You can read about that tractor here.)

When I talked to Harold about the Thieman, I remembered him telling me that he also had another oddball tractor that he would sell later this year. It is an Empire 88, and he said that it is likely the most customized one on the planet.

This week, that tractor showed up on Tractor Zoom, and I knew I had to write about it. This truly is one of the nicest Empires on the planet, and it’s definitely the most unique!

The Cliff Notes version of Empire Tractors and their history…

I’ve written about Empires before. They were fairly run-of-the-mill light duty farm tractors built in the mid-late 40s. Empire built the frames in-house, and used surplus Jeep motors and drivelines to make ’em go. Upon completion, they sold them back to the US government under the Marshall Plan. The US government sent these little 40-horse tractors all over the place to help with WWII reconstruction!

empire tractor badge
The badge of an empire-builder!

Ultimately, their downfall came when the Argentinian government suddenly declared them unfit for farming. Oddly enough, Time magazine printed a story right about the same time that claimed that the tractors were junk as well. Within months, the company was bankrupt. The remainder of the tractors sold here in North America for about $700 apiece.

I’m not one to put on the tinfoil hat very often, but the timing sure seems suspect on this deal. I sort of feel like maybe somebody who was pretty well-connected had beef with Frank Cohen (the guy who started the company) and organized this.

But that’s not really what this story is about. This story is about what Harold did to this tractor when he restored it…and why.

Empire 88 tractor
This is what an Empire looks like in normal form (without the blade). What Harold did with it is truly remarkable! (Click the photo to see the listing!)

Making an Empire fit for a King and a Queen

Harold and his wife Wilma are in the tractor hobby together. Always have been. They’ve really enjoyed putting their unique collection of tractors on display over the years. From the Nebraska State Fair to tractor rides all over the midwest, they’ve had a blast making new friends and using their tractors!

With this one, though, the restoration was a little different. Wilma needs a scooter to get around comfortably. On a tractor ride, space is at a premium, so Harold found a unique solution to let let both of them ride along, and carry the scooter too! “If I ride, she rides,” Harold told me on the phone today!

The Cab

The Empire 88 never came with a cab, so Harold solved that problem first. He was at a sale in Iowa when he stumbled upon this cab in the photo below. It was rough, but it was exactly what he wanted.

tokheim tractor cab laying on the ground
This tractor cab came from a rather unlikely source…a gas pump manufacturer!

The cab was built by Tokheim Tank & Pump Co. out of Fort Wayne, IN. Their main business was gas pumps and tanks and such. However, they did also make a line of all-steel cabs for a few tractors like the Farmall H, M, and Cockshutt 40.

He took it home and then made it wider and taller (kind of the opposite of chopping & channeling a hot rod). When finished, he adapted it to fit on the platform of the Empire – which he had also made wider and longer. “If it was going to work, it needed to seat both of us,” he told me, “so I made it wide enough to put the two of us up there comfortably!”

A place to park a scooter!

The next challenge was to give the Empire 88 a trunk (or a flatbed, I guess), and a ramp so that Wilma could access the cab. The ramp setup unfolds by a winch. Once unfolded, Harold uses a second winch to pull the scooter up onto the platform. The winches both tie in to the tractor’s electrical system. All in all, it’s pretty slick!

red empire tractor at auction with a handicapped-accessible ramp on the operator's platform
The winch on the right unfolds the ramp. The one on the left pulls the heavy scooter up on to the platform. Neat!

When Harold finished the fabricating, the tractor was treated to a snazzy paint job (which to my eye looks a lot like Massey red and gold, but I’m not positive of it). It’s been their parade and tractor-ride tractor ever since!

What’s it worth?

Honestly, I have no idea. We’ve seen a couple of Empires come through Tractor Zoom over the past few years, but none of them have had this level of restoration or customization. There weren’t a lot of these tractors sold here in North America after the company went bankrupt in the late 40s, so they are somewhat rare. Of all of them (about 1300), this one is surely the nicest one left. That said, it is customized, and that tends to depreciate the value of rare tractors a little bit. Still, Harold did a terrific job with the workmanship, and it does serve a purpose. It’ll take a special buyer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it brings $3-4000.

At the end of the day, Harold built this Empire 88 because he loves his wife, and because the idea of doing a tractor ride without Wilma just didn’t sound like much fun. What resulted is a very well-built, very unique tractor that solves a challenge faced by more tractor folks than we probably realize. I’ll just about guarantee that somewhere, one of you reading this column has already thought of a husband and wife who this tractor would be PERFECT for – and I really hope you’ll share this article with them!

The antique tractor hobby is lots of fun, and very family-oriented. Still, due to the nature of the design, it’s not for everybody. People who love tractors but aren’t able to climb up on to them for one reason or another are sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place. This little Empire 88 would fix that challenge for somebody!

Auction Details
Bidding opens: Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 5PM Central
Bidding closes: Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 11:29AM Central
Location: Saint Paul, NE (about 45 minutes or so north of Grand Island)
Auctioneer: Sweeney Auction & Realty
Contact: 308.223.0145

Tractor Zoom auction listing & a link to place your bid!

 

 

 

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…

Personalized Tractors: What do they do to auction values?

CO-OP E-4
Some farmers like to personalize their tractors, like this CO-OP E-4 with a turbo wing kit from a Peterbilt. This tractor goes home with a new owner when the auction ends in February 2021. Click the photo to get the details!

See the details on this tractor.

Every once in a while, a personalized tractor shows up on Tractor Zoom and it’s always good for some social media mileage. Most of the time people have pretty polarizing opinions, and because it’s social media…they aren’t afraid to share them. Sometimes it’ll spark some reasonable discussion, sometimes not.

Obviously, this little CO-OP E-4 is a personalized tractor. More on all that in a minute.

The CO-OP/Cockshutt Connection

First, let’s look at this week’s Interesting Iron. CO-OP tractors (and Cockshutt, the company that built them) are neat tractors and the way they came together is pretty interesting.

Rather than start at the beginning and tell the story of where the CO-OP brand came from, we’re going to pick it up in the late 40s. If you want the full story (that goes back almost to the Civil War), there’s a pretty detailed account of it all here. Basically, the brand was an offshoot of the Farmer’s Union, and organization dedicated to helping farmers get ahead. Among other things, they marketed lines of implements and tractors (from other manufacturers) under the CO-OP brand.

At any rate, they hooked up with a Canadian company (Cockshutt) in 1946. Cockshutt had a good short line at the time and they were in the progress of launching their own tractor line – one that they desperately wanted to sell in the States. Putting the deal together with CO-OP was a win/win for everybody.

The Cockshutt Model 20/30/40/50 & the CO-OP Variants

Cockshutt launched the 30 in 1946. It was a small rowcrop tractor that made about 30 horse from a four-cylinder Buda engine. At the same time, they sent the CO-OP E-3 to the states to launch at the same time. The two tractors were absolutely identical, save for the paint and the decals. They were well-built, and featured an industry first – a live PTO. As a result, they sold really well.

Three years later, they launched the Cockshutt 40 and CO-OP E-4, smaller 20 and E-2, and the bigger 50 and E-5. Just like the first tractor, they sold very well. Production lasted up until about 1957(ish) before an investor’s group bought Cockshutt and took them in a different direction.

The success of those tractors was largely due to the fact that they’re fairly simple in design. Aside from the live PTO, there wasn’t anything massively new or high-tech about these tractors. They were reliable and pretty easy to work on when you had to. Who doesn’t love that combo?

CO-OP E-4
Our friends at CHJ Auctioneers & Appraisers are sending this CO-OP home to somebody new in early February 2021!

The “Personalized” CO-OP from Nebraska

This CO-OP E-4 lives in Winside, NE, about an hour or two north of Omaha, and our friends at CHJ Auctioneers & Appraisers are selling this one at auction on February 5, 2021. Overall, it’s in good shape; it’s not perfect, but fundamentally it’s a great example of a neat piece of history.

Now…let’s address the elephant in the room…

This little orange tractor has a ginormous wing on it. Why? I really don’t know. Everybody’s got their thing. Maybe the owner is a big NHRA top fuel fan or something.

I’m not passing any judgment. To each their own.

How personalizing will effect value

From where I’m sitting, there’s three categories of personalizing, and they’ll all effect value a little differently. Here’s how I break it down.

  1. Bolt-ons: If you wire up a light bar on top of the cab or add an aftermarket autosteer or something to make the tractor more efficient, that’s all completely reversible. That stuff can all be removed fairly easily, in most cases.


    Case in point: Ag Leader’s new SteadySteer product is completely reversible. When this video was finished, everything you see here was unclamped from the 4760’s steering column and it was like nothing was ever there.At the end of the day, even if you were to sell it or trade it in, it really shouldn’t effect the value of the machine in a negative way.

  2. Paint/Decals/Doodads: If you repaint a tractor back to factory spec, this doesn’t really apply to you (even if it’s a collector tractor in most cases). However, if you decide you’re going to re-paint your 1468 and put Case International decals on it, it will hurt the resale value of the tractor.
    1468 Customized
    This 1468 has a pretty non-traditional paint job and Case International decals on it. Unfortunately, buyers didn’t take to it when it sold at auction. Hammering home for only $13K, it sold for a fair bit less than the average 1468.

    Typically, you’d have to pay at least $20K for even a well-used example, and closer to $30K for a nice one or a survivor. If it’s going to take extensive work to return a tractor back to stock-appearing, buyers will reel in their bids. Even for rare collector tractors!

    Ford 8n Green
    Here’s another example of a mod that was too much for buyers to stomach. Our Iron Comps average on 8Ns is just over $1400. This one sold for $830 (and it was mechanically sound).

     

  3. Structural Modifications: If you start cutting sheet metal, there’s a good chance that you’re going to see a pretty sharp decline in the value. Chopping up a tractor means that if a bidder wants to bring it back to stock appearing or stock functionality, he’s going to need to source parts – and there are no guarantees that they’ll be available.
    4010 Forklift
    I tried to find any mention of an aftermarket 4010 conversion kit and I can’t find one anywhere.

    For this 4010 that was flipped around backwards to make a forklift (I don’t think there was a kit for this – if so, reach out to me), it was like pulling teeth to sell it. When the hammer fell, it went home with somebody for $1300. Iron Comps says the average price of a 4010 at auction these days is $5563. Ouch.

At the end of the day, I don’t think this little CO-OP E-4 will suffer too much as far as value goes. Based on comparable sales results in Iron Comps, I’d imagine this tractor will get close to $2000. That giant shopping cart handle is attached using about 8 bolts, so it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to remove it – including stashing it in the shed somewhere!

See the details on this tractor.