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TAS Country : September 16th 2010
24 Tasmanian Country Friday, September 17, 2010 Tractor Tragic Detroit diesel Deeres VERSATILE: The John Deere Model 435 Orchard. LOCAL: John Deere Model 435 at Westbury. ' Built in the John Deere Wagon Works, the model L and LA were versatile tractors that found immediate acceptance as the primary power source on the smallest farm and a more than handy secondary tractor on the larger farm.' TRAGIC Tractor Glenn Shaw From 1923 to 1960 John Deere made their name with a range of simple but reliable 2-cylinder tractors. IN 1918 John Deere bought the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, which produced the respected Waterloo Boy tractor that used a horizontal 2-cylinder petrol/ kerosene engine. John Deere marketed the Waterloo Boy tractor until 1924 when they released the first tractor to carry the ''John Deere'' name --- the famous Model D that first existed in prototype from in 1923 and entered series production in 1924. For the Model D, the 2-cylinder horizontal engine layout was retained but turned around 180 degrees to have the pistons facing forward. Economics more than anything else had dictated that John Deere would perservere with an engine layout that had proved to be powerful and easy to maintain. An advertisement proclaimed ''John Deere would not be building, or consider building anything other than a 2-cylinder tractor''. For many years this was to be the only tractor John Deere would build for the farmer, but in 1936 a completely different small 2-cylinder John Deere tractor was under development. This tractor was the model Y which existed in prototype development form only although around 24 examples had been built and subject to ongoing tests. The model Y prototype used an engine from the Novo Company, but by 1937 had given way to an improved version for series production called the model 62 which was now powered by a vertical 2-cylinder Hercules. Only 78 examples of the model 62 were built when another new model was introduced as a replacement, this was the model L which continued to use the Hercules NXA engine. Styled sheet metal was added to give the model L ae modern look in 1939 along with an increase in bore size and a change to John Deere's own engine based on the Hercules design. In 1941 a bigger brother was introduced to complement the model L, this was the model LA with a handy increase in power. Built in the John Deere Wagon Works, the model L and LA were versatile tractors that found immediate acceptance as the primary power source on the smallest farm and a handy secondary tractor on larger farms. By 1947 though, John Deere had found these tractors needed more power and better all around versatility for true row crop operations. The answer lay with the introduction of the model M which was the first tractor produced at the new Dubuque factory in Iowa. The model M was first offered as a standard tractor only and by 1949, a row crop with tricycle front/adjustable rear track width and a crawler joined the line up.. With an increase in engine revs, the model 40 got a boost in power as well as adding more new variants to the range including high crop, two row utility. By 1956 the 40 had been replaced with the model 320 built in two standard tread variants along with another bigger bore model. The 420 carried on with all the different variants previously offered in the model 40 with the options of gasoline, kerosene and LP gas fuel engines but the 2-cylinder models were on borrowed time. As far back as 1953 John Deere knew that the horizontal and vertical 2-cylinder tractors were reaching the limits of their designs in respect to outright horsepower in the bigger models and flexibility in the smaller models. A team of trusted designers was set to work in a leased building away from everyday business at John Deere headquarters to develop the ''new generation'' of multi cylinder tractors --- all while the existing 2-cylinder range was undergoing improvement to carry on for the next few years into the ''30'' series. The final range of ''30'' series 2-cylinder John Deere tractors concentrated on better hydraulics, styling and operator comfort --- the ultimate development of the 2-cylinder line introduced in 1958 although nobody outside of John Deere could have known these tractors would be the last of the line. John Deere had marketed their first diesel tractor in 1949 with the model R and added a row crop variant in the model 70 diesel in 1953. Both tractors set fuel economy records at the Nebraska test institute but there did not seem to be any push to offer a diesel tractor in anything other than the high horsepower market. By the mid 1950s, however, there were a number of manufacturers offering diesel power in their smaller tractors --- the Oliver 55, Massey Ferguson 35, Fordson Dexta, International Harvester (Farmall 300) were all making inroads into the market formerly dominated by spark ignition engines. These were mostly good starters in all but the worst weather. John Deere knew there was a ready market waiting for a diesel version of the model 430 but found themselves in somewhat of a dilemma. Developing the new generation multi-cylinder tractors in secret was financially draining and a diesel engine for the model 430 would have to be a 2-cylinder so they didn't blow the whistle on the new tractors being developed. By 1959 there was no question that it would be unrealistic to adapt the existing 113.5 cubic inch
September 9th 2010
September 23rd 2010