The Next Generation of Red Tractors: The 40 and 60 Series

The new generation of IHC Red Tractors featured an all-new square look and unique technology.

| February 2014

  • The Cub was updated with new sheet metal in 1963. This 1964 International Cub is a working collectible that owner Bob Bennett uses to plow snow with the blade, cut grass with a Cub 22 mower, and occasionally turn some soil with a tandem disk.
    Photo by Lee Klancher
  • A Farmall 140 pulls a 122 disk harrow through a field in 1970. In the early 1950s, IHC research and development focused on tractors for the growing markets in urban areas. The 140 was used on large exurban properties and on small farms.
    Photo by CNH Global
  • This International 240 still sees duty moving snow, cutting brush, and hauling firewood in central Wisconsin.
    Photo by Lee Klancher
  • The Farmall 340 could be ordered with the standard five-speed transmission or with Torque Amplifier (TA), which provided ten effective forward speeds. This hardworking example owned by Jim Johnson of Abernathy, Texas, still does chores on the farm.
    Photo by Lee Klancher
  • "Red Tractors 1958-2013" (Octane Press, 2013) is author Lee Klancher's meticulously researched look at the history of International Harvester Company, a landmark American company that defined agricultural business for a century.
    Cover courtesy Octane Press

Red Tractors 1958-2013 (Octane Press, 2013) is an authoritative and unparalleled look at the tractors built by International Harvester Company and Case IH. Author Lee Klancher leads a research team that has collected more than 380 pages and 700 images, documenting these beloved machines built in America and abroad. In this six-part series, Farm Collector shares the first chapter of Red Tractors, "1958-1959 The Hinsdale Connection". In this, the third part of the series, International Harvester Company introduces the next generation of farm machines, the 40 and 60 series tractors.

You can purchase this book from the Farm Collector store: Red Tractors 1958-2013.

In 1953, Mark Keeler became the head of the Agricultural Engineering Division for Harvester. One of the first things he did was to go on a fact-finding trip with product specialist M.O. Curvey. The two men visited several dealers to learn what they wanted to see in the next generation of International Harvester tractors. The answer from the first dealer they visited—Andy Anderson in Harvard, Illinois—was pretty straightforward: Anderson told them he wanted improved operator comfort and convenience.

After five years of hard work building IH’s next generation of new machines, Keeler and Curvey returned to Harvard in 1958 to offer the town a sneak preview of the new International Harvester tractor. Months before the official world introduction, Anderson removed the paper that shielded the tractor from prying eyes and drove it straight down Main Street in Harvard.

Harvester had planted cameramen from Harvester World magazine on the street and rooftops to catch the crowd’s reaction. The resulting article reported that one gentleman was so taken by the new tractor that he walked into a utility pole (the cameramen saved him embarrassment by not capturing that scene). Men and women gathered around to look the tractor over, to sit in the seat, and to start it up.

Comments focused on the comfortable new seat, the smooth new engine, and the revised control layout. The styling was improved, with redesigned lines avoiding the “Christmas tree” look of the previous models . Curvey admitted that there weren’t a lot of new pieces in the transmission (except for the relocated hydraulic pump), but the farmer who asked said that he had never heard of a farmer having problems with an IH transmission or differential anyway. Soon, the tractor was back on the truck, rewrapped in its paper disguise and on its way back into hiding until the new line’s official July 1958 introduction.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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