First Things

By Staff
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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?
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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.

Gas Engine Magazine
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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines