As Good as Gold
Sheppard Diesel tractors draw loyal following
Like the "Forty-niners" panning for gold in
"them thar hills" of California, modern day prospectors turn over
many rocks looking for a certain "yellow gold" tractor … a Sheppard
Diesel. Few are found, but the rare nugget is worth all the effort.
And, like the Forty-niners, these prospectors cherish their bits of
gold as much as those rugged individuals did 150 years ago.
This year, the Sheppard Diesel Club celebrated its 10th
anniversary in August at the Maumee Valley Antique Steam and Gas
Association Show at New Haven, Ind. Technically, this was the
group's 11th meeting, but the first year - before the club was
formally organized - the event was simply called "The Sheppard
Diesel Reunion." In 1994, Lynn Klingaman, Columbia City, Ind.,
called several friends who also owned Sheppard Diesels and
suggested they get together to show their tractors. At that
gathering, the Sheppard Diesel Club was formed. Since then, each
year they meet at a different location to exhibit tractors and
Jim Reed, Gibsonville, Ohio, is the current president of the
group. Jim is an avid collector of Farmalls and International
Harvester equipment. However, his pride and joy is a Sheppard
Diesel SD-2 that he displays at Sheppard anniversary shows all over
R.H. Sheppard, Hanover, Pa., produced diesel engines for U.S.
Navy lifeboats during World War II. He knew he had a good product
and knew he could build a worthy farm tractor at a reasonable
price. He started manufacturing tractors in 1948, halting
production 10 years later in 1958.
His first tractor was a small, 1-cylinder air-cooled tractor
(quite like a garden tractor) advertised as being a "small
diesel-powered farm tractor for the big jobs on the small place. It
can do everything a team can do - and more!"
Next came the 2-cylinder SD-2, then the 3- and 4-cylinder
tractors, SD-3 and SD-4. The model numbering system he devised was
simple: SD stood for Sheppard Diesel. "One" stood for one cylinder
and one plow. The numbers two, three and four similarly stood for
2-cylinder 2-plow, 3-cylinder 3-plow and 4-cylinder 5-plow
Horsepower ratings cost in 1955 were: