Minneapolis-Moline UTS Gives Hope During Dark Days of War

A family heirloom Minneapolis-Moline UTS was a rare tractor available in England during World War II

| October 2000

  • 1942 MM UTS
    Ian Johnston's 1942 MM UTS, at the Ayrshire rally.
  • Ian Johnston
    Ian Johnston

  • 1942 MM UTS
  • Ian Johnston

This 1942 Minneapolis-Moline UTS is not so much a collectible as a family heirloom. Delivered to Scotland on Oct. 22,1942, it was a triumph of both American engineering and war-time victory in the Atlantic. Nearly 60 years later, Ian Johnston, Dumfrieshire, remembers the circumstances clearly. 

"You had to apply to the Department of Agriculture to get a tractor during the war, and it was necessary to get a special permit to get one with rubber tires. They told my father 'The only tractor coming across on rubber tires is a Minneapolis-Moline. Would you take that?' Well, in lease-lend, you just took what you could get. He jumped at the chance."

When the tractor arrived, Ian, then 12, got first shot at it.

"My father said 'Jump on to it, son, and you'll be the first to drive it.'"

The power of the Minneapolis-Moline UTS set it apart.

"My father needed it very badly," Ian recalled. "The Fordson was just too small to pull the load."