CO-OP Tractors were Built for Speed!

| July 2005

During the mid-1930s, when most farm tractors were lucky to run 5 mph in top gear, the 22 to 28 mph road speeds of the CO-OP Nos. 1, 2 and 3 machines were startling. These CO-OP tractors were regularly equipped with rubber tires, and the ability to rapidly haul a wagon load of a harvested crop to the market or to a grain elevator in town was a big selling point.

Dealers liked the high road speeds as well. A special hitch was developed so the front wheels could be removed from a tractor and it was then towed behind another in a tandem arrangement. This allowed many dealers to pick up their tractors at the warehouse and drive them back to their dealerships, thus saving on trucking costs.

In the fall of 1936, the CO-OP Nos. 2 and 3 tractors were scheduled for testing at the University of Nebraska test facilities. One machine was hitched behind the other and they were driven approximately 700 miles from the factory in Battle Creek, Mich., to Lincoln, Neb.

During 1938, according to one account, a cavalcade of new CO-OP tractors was driven all the way from the plant in Arthurdale, W.Va., to the National Farm Machinery Cooperative warehouse in Indianapolis, a distance of close to 400 miles. They were rigged so one tractor towed two others. Probably the 25 mph-plus road speed seemed pretty fast on some of the West Virginia and southern Ohio roads of the day.