Home-Built Four-Wheel Drive Tractor

Faced with tractors too small for his farm, Minnesota man took matters into his own hands by assembling his own four-wheel drive tractor.

| February 2019

 Jumbo-side-view
A side view of the Jumbo shows a sleek and modern tractor, at least by 1965 standards. The tractor began drawing a crowd almost immediately. “Right away, people came from Brazil, Puerto Rico, the West Coast of the U.S. and many other places, to take pictures of the Jumbo,” builder Alan Adams says. Photo by Nikki Rajala.

Alan Adams already had more natural talent with machinery by age 30 than many men amass in a lifetime. So when he decided to build a tractor designed to tackle specific problems on his Minnesota farm, it didn’t seem like an insurmountable undertaking to him.

“Some of the machinery was getting too small for my farm,” Alan says, “so in 1963, I decided to build a four-wheel drive tractor.”

He’d been using Caterpillars and other tracked tractors before that, and he figured a four-wheel drive could go through anything he could see or work with on the Wendell, Minnesota, farm where he raised wheat, corn, barley, corn, soybeans and sugar beets.



The only limiting factor was the engine in his possession: a 401-cubic-inch V-6 GMC engine. With 180hp on tap, the gasoline-fueled engine meant the tractor had to be big – which it would be. When completed, his creation – which he christened the Jumbo – weighed in at 14,500 pounds.

close-up-Jumbo-construction
A close-up of the Jumbo’s articulated construction. Photo by Bill Vossler.



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