What weighs just under 1,000 lbs., is powered by a 9 HP Clinton engine, has a Crossley three-speed transmission and two Caterpillar treads?
P.O. Box 178, Thompson, Connecticut 06277
It's called the Lay-Trac G-2 tractor, and is probably the world's smallest true production bulldozer. This marvel of engineering was briefly produced back in the 1950s by a small company located in Seattle, Washington. Width at the tracks is a scant 30', and the overall length without attachments is only 48'! With a front push blade and a rear cultivator bar, this little unit does a fine job emulating its generic big brothers like the Caterpillar D-8.
The subject of this article was obtained in inoperable condition, needing a lot of tender loving care. This Lay-Trac Mini-Bull-dozer is now the proud possession of one Richard Rawson of Thompson, Connecticut, and has been lovingly restored to pristine condition.
Having full machine shop facilities at his disposal, 'Dick' Rawson effected some minor improvements to the transmission mounts. Other than this, the unit is now in factory-new original condition.
Here is the mechanical 'skinny' on the little G-2. A 9 HP, air cooled, Clinton gas engine supplies the power. The engine is ingeniously mounted on a spring-loaded pivoting platform that also serves as the main clutch. The transmission is a Borg-Warner T-92 model with three speeds forward and one reverse. (This is the very same model that was used in the Crossly car of the same vintage.)
Steering is accomplished via a very hefty, well engineered set of cone clutches and band brakes. When the steering levers are all the way forward, the clutch is engaged; pull back on either lever and you activate the individual band brakes. The carriage consists of two solid cast idlers and two solid cast steel sprockets. No idler rolls are used due to the short distance between the idler wheels and the sprockets. The tracks are amazingly heavy duty in construction; in fact, the pads and the links are cast as one solid unit. This feature, as well as so many other high quality cast parts, leads me to believe the Lay-Trac people had their own foundry capabilities.
The take-up unit is unique in the respect that the front idlers are mounted on a solid shaft with spring mounted turnbuckles on either side; not your typical crawler design! There are eight Alemite grease fittings to make sure things are well lubricated. There is also a separate raise/lower linkage for the front blade and the rear tool bar, as well as a foam padded seat. Stainless steel fasteners are used everywhere, again indicating the high level of quality and attention to detail that makes this 'antique' a real find. Mr. Rawson finished the little crawler off in 'Cat' yellow industrial paint. This definitely adds to the eye appeal of the unit.
Having just finished this fine project Dick plans on trail ring his Lay-Trac to a number of antique engine shows in the greater New England area, where he will show and demonstrate this truly obscure piece of Yankee ingenuity.
Good luck and congratulations on a job well done! We're lucky to have collectors like Dick Rawson to help preserve our mechanical heritage.