Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rare Tractor, Indeed!

There are a lot of old tractors that are considered rare for various reasons. Some of the reasons are quite apparent and others are not! A lot goes into that determination such as low production numbers, early year of manufacture, how tractors might have been set up during production, experimental models, etc.

I found one of these rare tractors at the 2010 Red Power Roundup event a few weeks ago that is actually quite rare but you wouldn't immediately know it. It's a 1954 Farmall Super M-TA Hi-Clearance tractor with a single front wheel and set up to use propane fuel. (See photo below).

Any one of the above features in and of themselves would not necessarily make a tractor rare.  So then, what makes this particular tractor rare besides the obvious fact that it is a Hi-Clearance tractor with a single front wheel running on propane? 

One thing is that the Super M-TA, (regardless of how they might have been set up from the factory), were only produced in any configuration for one year......1954.  These tractors were built as transition model tractors and had some innovative additions that led to the hundred series...... tractors that were ultimately more prevalent.

The Super M-TA was the first Farmall tractor built with torque Amplification (TA) which was a high - low range transmission equipped to allow shifting "on the fly". Engaging the TA feature reduced the speed of the tractor by about 1/3 giving the driver more pulling power to work with. An operator could more closely match the power output to the load. This was quite an innovation during this time period.

These tractors also had an independent PTO (Power Take-Off). Without going into detail, which was fairly complexed to achieve, power was transferred directly to the rear of the tractor bypassing the clutch. The rear of the tractor of course is the most convenient place to find power to operate other equipment.

There were only 23,523 Super M-TA's or Super MD-TA's (Diesel models) made in all configurations and one set up like this particular tractor are hard to find! Quite a nice restoration don't you think?