The RAV4 of tractors: The White 4-150 Field Boss

White 4-150
This 4-150 Field Boss lives just northeast of Madison, WI for now, but goes home to a new owner tomorrow! Maybe that new owner should be you! Click the photo to see the description, more photos, and a link to get in on the bidding!

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.

  • 4WD traction
  • Row-crop versatility
  • Utility-model stability
  • Articulated maneuverability
  • Reasonable power

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!

White 4 150 Brochure
WFE was selling pretty hard against the high-horsepower row-crop competitors here. They took a swipe at a couple of the more popular 4WD options, too.
Field Boss 4-150 Brochure 2
Power with a purpose. Good slogan. (Still not sure about using the word ‘efficiently’ in the same context as a 3208 Cat, though…)
White 4 150 Brochure 4
I thought the tagline at the bottom was pretty interesting.

White 4 150 Brochure.3 Copy

Big Blue: The Ford 9600

Ford 9600
Big power from small cubes! This beautiful Ford 9600 sells on August 24, 2020. Click the photo to learn more about this one-owner gem!

The 9600 is probably my favorite Ford tractor of all time. There’s something about these things that just looks right. A 9600 open station with a narrow front on a set of 20.8 Firestone Deep Treads, the white fenders with the lights in ’em, and a ROPS bar? That just screams muscle tractor to me.

The 9600 was the top dog in Ford’s lineup in 1975. It made just over 135 PTO horse from a turbocharged 401, which was one of the smallest motors of the era (I think the only one to make similar horsepower with a smaller motor was Massey Ferguson). This particular tractor also features Dual-Power, Ford’s version of a torque amplifier, which effectively allowed the operator to split the dual-range 4-speed into a 16-speed transmission. This one works, too!

The 9600 had a reputation for being a really torque-y tractor with lots of low-end grunt. It’s also known to be pretty fuel-efficient, too. I know a guy from Missouri who still farms with one today; even though he’s turned it up a little, he swears it only burns about 6.5 gallons/hour!

This particular 9600 is in BEAUTIFUL shape! It’s a one-owner tractor with good rubber all the way around, straight tin, and it’s absurdly clean both inside and out! Here’s the best part, though…it’s only got 3033 hours on it! It’s barely broken in! It lives in Minnesota until next week when our friends at Zielsdorf Auction & Real Estate send it home with a new owner!

If you want to see some video of a nicely-restored Ford 9600, our friends at Successful Farming interviewed a farmer in Grinnell, IA not too long ago for their Ageless Iron segment. Watch it here!

Useless Trivia:

How do you tell the difference between an 8000-series and a 9000-series Ford without looking under the hood? Look at the grill. On the 8000-series tractors, the rectangles are vertical. On the 9000-series, they’re horizontal!

The Hillside Hero: Case 2670

Case 2670
This Case 2670 Traction King lives in Missouri for now…will you be the one to bring it home? Click the photo for the details and a link to bid!

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!

By far, though, the thing that made the big Traction King popular was its ingenious method of steering. If you’ve never seen a Case 4-wheel-steer tractor make a wicked tight turn before, it’s a thing of beauty, let me tell you! You can turn one of these tractors around in under 16 feet! Furthermore, on steep hills (think wheat fields in Eastern WA), the crab-steer function almost eliminated implement side draft!

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!

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!