C. L. Best Tractor Company Introduced the Model 60 Crawler Tractor in 1919

| July/August 1997

13923 State Highway 8 Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354

The C. L. Best Tractor Company introduced the Model 60 crawler tractor in 1919. The tractor initially was equipped with a two speed transmission and was rated at a maximum drawbar pull of 11,000 pounds. By 1924 the transmission had been modified to a three speed model, its engine output increased to 72.5 horsepower and had its drawbar pull increased to 12,360 pounds. In April 1925, Best and the Holt Manufacturing Company merged to form the Caterpillar Tractor Company. The Model Sixty was continued in production after the merger nearly unchanged until 1931.

In the book Endless Tracks in the Woods, authors James A. Young and Jerry D. Budy discuss the Caterpillar Model Sixty: 'What may be the all-time classic track laying tractor was introduced in 1919. This was the Best 60.' 'It was one of those rare technologies that carried existing knowledge to a level that had not previously existed. It was a balanced tractor where power, suspension, and design blended together to produce a machine better than it should have been.' They further state, 'It was one of those uniquely balanced creations of mechanical design, where the parts fit together to produce a machine capable of accomplishing tasks far in excess of those envisioned by the designers.' 'The 60 became a legend in its own time.'

The price of the tractor in 1925 was $6,000, and by the end of production, in early 1931, the price had dropped to $4,175. The tractor was produced in both Peoria, Illinois (the 'PA' series) and in San Leandro, California (the 'A' series). Records indicate that a total of approximately 18,900 units were produced in the two manufacturing locations.

The subject of this article is Caterpillar Model Sixty serial number PA 6330. The age of this tractor has been identified as 1928,1929, and 1930 by different serial number lists. I usually identify it as a 1930, but take your choice. It belonged to a series of owners until I purchased it in 1968, in Ulysses Township, Potter County, Pennsylvania.

This tractor weighs about 21,000 pounds without any accessories. The track pads are 20 inches wide and run on a five roller platform. The track ground contact surface is 7 feet 5 inches long and produces ground pressure of 5.4 pounds per square inch. Steering is by multiple dry disc clutches and band type brakes. The engine is a four cycle, four cylinder, valve in head, in line engine with babbitt bearings and positive pressure lubrication. The engine has a bore 6.5 inches and a stroke of 8.5 inches, displaces 1128 cubic inches (18.5 liters) and develops 72.5 horsepower at 650 rpm. Oil capacity is about 4 gallons and the cooling system holds about 22 gallons. The transmission holds six gallons of 90 weight gear lubricant. Overall dimensions are: Length overall: 12' 8?', height overall: 8' 5, height to top of radiator: 6' 6', width overall: 7' 11', ground clearance: 14'.