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INTERESTING IRON

The most interesting tractors of 2023…

Author

Ryan Roossinck

January 03, 2024

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Each year, lots of really interesting tractors get listed on Tractor Zoom that I never get to write about. There’s only so many hours in the day, y’know? Furthermore, with nearly 700 auctioneers and close to 1400 dealer locations than ever, it’s happening more frequently. There’s so much iron listed on the site! It’s a great problem to have, and we’re thankful to have the partners we do!

Still, those tractors deserve a little love, y’know? This year, there were a few that stuck out to me this year, so let’s look at the most interesting trucks of 2023 that ended up on the cutting room floor!

All-American: 1990 White American 80

most interesting tractors - White American 60
This handy little utility was the pride of Coldwater, OH, where it was built between 1989-1991. (Photo: Aumann Vintage Power)

The White American 60 and 80s are a really neat tractor series. They weren’t ever designed to be something super-special, just a basic utility built here in the States using tried and true components that the company really believed in. The naturally aspirated 4B Cummins engine powered the 60, and the 80 had the 4BT. Both fed power through an Oliver rear end from the 1655.

Each model in the series was offered in four different colors, celebrating White’s heritage as a company (and the companies that they acquired over the years). Oliver green, Cockshutt red, and Minneapolis-Moline gold were all available in addition to the White’s standard silver.

Production numbers weren’t huge to start with, but I think they were headed in the right direction. However, White’s tractor line was acquired by AGCO in 1991. When that happened, the Americans unfortunately got the axe in favor of a similar-sized tractor built in Italy. Had White been allowed to continue building these machines, I feel like they would’ve sold well.

At the end of the day, just a hair over 900 White American tractors ever made it off the assembly line in Coldwater, OH. Below, you’ll find unconfirmed production numbers by color.

White American 60 production

White American 80 production

They’ve become very desirable tractors both for users as well as collectors. This particular 2WD model (which I believe was the rarer of the two drive types) was completely original and only had 400 hours on it, and bidding went pretty nuts!

Hammer Price: $42,500
Auctioneer: Aumann Vintage Power
Date: November 13, 2023

Side note: It was a pretty good year for White American tractors at auction. We saw a total of 8 tractors (counting both 60s and 80s) change hands, and in every color except for yellow!

Sound & Fury: 3208-swapped 560

most interesting tractors - Farmall 560 with a 3208 CAT swap
This 3208 CAT-swapped 560 might not make huge power, but I’ll bet it barks pretty loud! (Photo: Wilkinson Auction & Realty)

Every now and again, we’ll see an auction list up on TZ where you can just tell that the guy is/was a gearhead. The auction for Dick Iverson was one of those auctions. I never had the opportunity to meet Dick, but I feel like he and I could’ve been friends. His shed was absolutely STUFFED with over 70 collector tractors – many of them had been nicely restored, too. He also must’ve had a thing for V8s, because I think I counted five tractors that either had a V8 in it from the factory, or had been swapped.

This Farmall 560 was very well-done, too, from what I can tell. I’m not sure of the specifics on the tractor as far as driveline is concerned, but it’s got a 3208 CAT sitting in the frame rails, and as far as I’m concerned that’s really cool. 3208s don’t make crazy-big power (they were originally rated at 210 horse), but I’d imagine that it woke that 560 right up! Apparently the bidders thought so, too!

It went to a new home in Illinois for $25,500. If the buyer is who I think it might be, there’s a half-decent chance that we might see it again someday at the Half Century of Progress Show!

Hammer Price: $25,500
Auctioneer: Wilkinson Auction & Realty
Date: July 28, 2023

The Widowmaker: 1969 John Deere 5020

most interesting tractor - John Deere 5020 built by Brad Walk
This Brad Walk-built 5020 might be the nicest one I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely the spendiest! (Photo: Hanold Auctioneering & Giesler Auctioneering)

This beauty of a 5020 was on Gary Titsworth’s collector auction this past October along with a bunch of other really high-line classics and muscle tractors. I did write about this auction, but the focus of the article was on the 6030 Non Turbo (one of just 45 built). And if you follow the 6030 market, you know what happened with that tractor – it sold for a whopping $150,870!

In my mind, however, this 5020 was probably the biggest surprise of the entire sale. I mean, 6030s are hot and they probably always will be; a huge number for a very rare (and very original) tractor like that isn’t entirely unexpected. But $107,000 for a 5020? That surprised me. I mean, some of the nicest 5020s I’ve ever laid eyes on have struggled to break $40,000 in the past few years!

This one had all the right stuff, though. It was beautifully restored by Brad Walk in Sigel, IL, and from where I’m sitting, Brad’s work is second to none.

Hammer Price: $107,000
Auctioneer: Hanold Auctioneering & Giesler Auctioneering
Date: October 16, 2023

Side note: This tractor never sent anybody to the hospital or to the morgue. I referred to it as The Widowmaker because I was texting back and forth with Gary Titsworth that night when the auction was closing, and I was a little worried about his blood pressure! He was so overjoyed that I was concerned he’d have a heart attack from all of the excitement!

Swan Song: Kinze-repowered 8850

most interesting tractors of 2023 - john deere 8850 kinze repower
This big beauty is something of a swan song for Kinze-repowered John Deeres. It was the final one to ever roll out of the shop! (Photo: Ted Braaksma)

Kinze repowers – especially really nice ones – typically attract a lot of interest when they come up for auction. This one was no exception, either; it’s been very well-kept, and had one very notable distinction. It was the last tractor that Kinze repowered.

I happen to know the seller, and we both went into the auction with high hopes for it to set a record. It was close, but when the hammer fell, it didn’t quite get there – likely because it’s a bareback tractor. The current auction price record for 8850s is $114,500 for a 1982 model with PTO, 3-point, and 4 remotes. It sold on a Steffes retirement auction in Norwalk, IA about 20 minutes away from our office!

As it happened, this big 8850 ended up heading to a friend of mine in North Dakota, and I know it’s in good hands up there!

Hammer Price: $111,000
Auctioneer: Sullivan Auctioneers – A BigIron Company
Date: March 20, 2023

Familiar face: 2007 Buhler-Versatile 2160 (Genesis II)

most interesting tractors of 2023 - Buhler-Versatile 2160
This Buhler-Versatile was basically the last hurrah for the venerable Genesis tractors, and this one was a nice one! (Photo: McGrew Equipment)

Genesis tractors are great tractors – likely some of the best tractors produced in the 90s and early 2000s. They’re one of those “lightning in a bottle” deals where it only happens once in a lifetime (and I’ve told some of that story here). They were built by Versatile in Winnipeg but sold under seven different brands (depending on how picky you want to get).

This particular tractor, though, was one of the very last to ever wear the familiar Genesis sheet metal. It was essentially identical to the first models, but New Holland had discontinued selling them, as they’d merged with Case IH and were moving to the Magnum architecture. Buhler-Versatile sold them through the 2007 model year. They used up the remaining 7.5L blocks in 2008, but with a much more modern sheet metal.

Greg McGrew found this one on a small grain farm in Ontario, Canada. Finding a sharp tractor like this isn’t uncommon; Greg seems to have a knack for finding nice tractors now and then. However, finding one with a thousand original hours on it? That’s a little more of a needle in a haystack!

Hammer Price: $92,000
Auctioneer: McGrew Equipment
Date: December 27, 2023

Big cubes & blue paint: 1991 Ford Versatile 1156

most interesting tractors of 2023 - Ford Versatile New Holland 1156
This big blue Ford (built by Versatile) was the last of the truly big-cube component 4WDs. (Photo: Swenson & Sons)

I’ve written about component 4WDs and why I think they’re a brilliant idea on multiple occasions. Versatile was the first company to ever mainstream production of a component-based tractor. In doing so, I feel like they legitimized the articulating 4WD as a useful tool. In later years, the competition definitely caught up, but in the late 80s, Versatile (which was now under the ownership of Ford/New Holland) had a very competitive product line.

The 1156 was the biggest one in the bunch, tipping the scales at upwards of 45,000 pounds fully loaded. With an 1150 cubic inch Cummins KTA under the hood making 470 horse, it was a monster in the field!

This one sold about a week ago in Minot, ND for $106,000 – and in my opinion, it was 100% worth it. It was in great shape inside and out, the motor had a clean bill of health, and it sold with triples all the way around. If you need weight and power for your operation, it’s hard to beat these tractors for the price. They’ll last forever because they’re so heavily-built, and they’re so mechanical. If you can turn a wrench, you can fix one of these things!

Hammer Price: $106,000
Auctioneer: Swenson & Sons
Date: December 29, 2023

Fun Fact: Swenson & Sons holds the top three auction price records on 1156s!

So there you have it; a half-dozen of the most interesting tractors I never had the opportunity to write about for Interesting Iron. I hope that 2023 went out on a high note, and you got a great start in 2024!

Find some Interesting Iron of your own here!

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