| May/June 1986

2287 W. Auburn Auburn, Hgts, Michigan 48057

After reading the article 'The Real Fordson Story' in the February issue of GEM, I am reminded of Henry Ford's tractor production later on in the 1930's. It is also in interesting story.

In the middle to late 1930's, Henry Ford began to formulate ideas to help his company better compete with other tractor manufacturers in the U.S. He wanted something to replace the aging and sometimes dangerous Fordson design. He wanted to produce a tractor that was low priced and popular with farmers; something in a row-crop tricycle design to do battle with the Farmalls and others. By 1937, his plans bore fruit in a tractor designed and assembled from existing Ford truck and car parts. These were used in order to keep costs down as much as possible. According to Nevins & Hill in their book Ford: Decline and Rebirth, Henry Ford displayed his new creation to several newspapermen in January 1938. They write 'He was as happy as a boy with a new fire engine.' The tractor was scheduled for production later in 1938, but was never started. In the interim, Ford met Harry Ferguson and was persuaded to begin building a tractor using Ferguson's hydraulic hitch system.

The tractor has 100 horsepower V-8 engine, a four-speed transmission, and a truck differential with two final drives. It is 14 feet 8 inches long, 7 feet 10 inches high and 8 feet 11 inches wide.

The tractor was donated to the Henry Ford Museum after the lawsuit between Ford and Ferguson, and was restored and put on the museum floor in 1952. Pictured is a copy of the Museum's accession sheet for the tractor. It remained in the Museum until 1958, when it was removed and put in storage. I acquired the tractor at the September, 1982, auction of Museum items; it was lot #233.

Since that time, I have spent several months getting the tractor back into running condition. I have taken it to several shows where it has always been widely accepted. Shown are several pictures of this unique tractor. I received a letter from Mr. Michael Williams, of Rosings, Rattlesden Road, Drinkstone, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9TL, England concerning my tractor. Mr. Williams has featured the tractor in two books he has written, Farm Tractors in Color, and Fords and Fordson. He says of my V-8: 'I understand the Institute did not attach particular value to the tractor, but I believe this was because they knew very little about it and assumed it was of no historical value. I believe it is an important tractor, because it is a very good example of the way Henry Ford tried to keep down his costs by basing his tractor design on existing car and truck components. It is a link between the early Fordson design and the Ferguson System tractor which arrived two years later.'.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Be sure to take advantage of the Square Deal Subscription Program.

  • No Missed Issues.

  • No Renewal Notices.

  • No Additional Cost.

The Square Deal Subscription Program is designed as a paperless transaction with automatic renewals at a preferred low rate.   With advanced electronic notification, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an easy opt-out plan, the Square Deal Subscription Program is the best value, risk free, eco-friendliest way to subscribe.

Facebook YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265