1938 Lanz Bulldog

By Staff
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5 Veterans Row, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia 7303

It’s been a cold, wet day out in the shed and upon reading
the article on Mr. Eric Siren’s ‘Columbia’ engine, I
decided once again to prompt myself into writing about my latest
project, a 1938 Lanz Bulldog.

The Lanz engine is (like the Columbia) a two stroke hot bulb
type capable of burning any oil-based fuel that can be injected
into the combustion chamber. This engine was first designed and
built in 1921 by Dr. Fritz Huber, and the design lasted until 1964,
being built in both diesel and semi-diesel types. My Lanz is a
Model P 22-45 HP dual purpose (road/farm) model, fitted with an
engine of 8-86 inch bore and 10 inch stroke. It is also fitted with
a two stage governor allowing a normal speed of 540 rpm and a
temporary maximum load of 630 rpm. The load on the engine can also
be adjusted by altering the injector spray on the hot bulb.

Starting one of these engines always surprises the uninitiated,
as on non-electric models a blow lamp is ignited and placed under
the hot bulb for about three minutes (or until the bulb is cherry
red). On dual purpose models this method is done away with by
utilizing a trembler coil, plug and petrol injection. Two pumps are
given on the fuel pump lever and then the steering wheel is removed
and placed in the end of the crankshaft and rocked back sharply,
causing the fuel in the hot bowl to flare and ignite starting the
engine. Being a two stroke, the engine will start forward or
backward. If the engine does fire backwards, the fuel is shut off
until the engine rocks on top dead center and the fuel is then
turned back on causing the engine to fire back the other way. If
started on petrol, the engine is run until warm and then the petrol
turned off and oil fuel turned on. The engine will now self-ignite
and run indefinitely. During World War II, many of these tractors
ran day and night on nothing more than sump oil; a reputation like
that made them very scarce and sought after as the government
ceased imports due to our being at war with the German

Australian agents Kelly and Lewis obtained rights to manufacture
the Lanz tractor locally in 1948 as German Lanz’s were still
unobtainable. The ‘KL’ Bulldog was based on the 40 HP Model
N lamp start three speed Lanz previously imported. Unfortunately,
they were plagued with broken crankshafts, earning them the
reputation of the ‘poor man’s Lanz’. Production of the
KL Bulldog ceased when the Lanz version became available once
again. About 800 KL Bulldogs were produced, and were quite
different from the Lanz, being finished in red paintwork with
yellow wheels. Radiator units were also different with local models
fitted with straight fins and Lanz versions having honeycomb

These tractors (both Lanz and KL) are still keenly sought after
by Australian collectors. I was fortunate enough to obtain mine at
an auction but I didn’t hold out much luck of obtaining it due
to other enthusiasts being prepared to pay more than I could
afford. As I was unable to attend the sale, my father went to at
least see how much the old girl brought. Imagine my surprise when I
drove in the drive, opened the garage and came face to face with a
45 HP Bulldog!

My first words were to the tune of ‘Hell, he got

‘Sure did,’ said Dad from behind the tractor.

When asked how much we paid for it, he said, ‘Too much,’
but still we would not get the opportunity to obtain another.

As the engine was running when we bought it, I didn’t tamper
with it but set about cleaning and painting it to factory

Restoration should be finished in early 1988 and then I can
start on the Lanz’s John Deere cousins awaiting restoration.
John Deere took controlling interest of 78% of Lanz Mannheim,
taking control of the company in 1958. Lanz ceased production in

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