Classics for the Tractor Enthusiast

Between the bookends: Four new titles perfect for the tractor enthusiast


| June 2011



John Deere New Generation and Generation II Tractors: History, Models, Variations & Specifications 1960s-1970s

John Deere New Generation and Generation II Tractors: History, Models, Variations & Specifications 1960s-1970s, by John Dietz, hard cover, 128 pages, color photographs, Voyageur Press, $25, available through Farm Collector Books. Click here to purchase.

This spring brings a crop of four interesting new titles for the tractor enthusiast. Ranging from early tractors (the Fordson) to comparatively modern models (John Deere’s New Generation and Generation II tractors), and including a solid overview of the broad category and the story of a famed inventor, these titles deserve a second look. 

In a new book tracing the history of John Deere New Generation and Generation II tractors, author John Dietz has done his homework and then some. A selection of solid resources adds rich detail to a legendary era in farm equipment manufacture in John Deere New Generation and Generation II Tractors: History, Models, Variations & Specifications 1960s-1970s.

Deere & Co. was already in a leadership position when it looked beyond two-cylinder equipment and commenced design of large, powerful tractors with stunning new advances in engine technology, ergonomics and safety. After seven years in development, the results were unveiled at D-Day in Dallas on Aug. 30, 1960. Company President William Hewitt capably steered the massive project, which helped transform Deere & Co. from a Midwestern manufacturer into the world’s largest producer of agricultural equipment.

Dietz’s book is a rich tapestry, weaving in the lineage of New Generation and Generation II tractors and equipment, behind-the-scenes details on design, development and corporate history during an exciting period of growth. Hewitt’s leadership had lasting impact. As the final generation of Deere leadership with actual ties to the company founder (Hewitt’s wife was Patricia Deere Wiman, great-great-granddaughter of John Deere), Hewitt exercised unique vision in guiding the decades-old company into its own new generation.

The book also offers a fresh visual perspective on collectible John Deere tractors and equipment. Although it includes photos of handsomely restored tractors with gleaming paint jobs, tractors in many photos are captured in their work clothes in the field or abandoned along fencerows. Based in Manitoba, Canada, Dietz (who took many of the book’s photos) opted to include many tractors from Canadian collections and those add particular shine to the book.

A regular contributor to Successful Farming Magazine, Dietz is a former field writer for The Furrow (published by Deere & Co.), and is the author of John Deere Two-Cylinder Buyer’s Guide and Classic John Deere Two-Cylinder Tractors.