Some car enthusiasts might not be aware that there is a huge following in this country for vintage tractors. Everybody collects something, and tractors are no exception. But this 109-year-old Case tractor is an outlier, as it just sold for $1.5 million. It’s a record, but what’s so special about it?
What kind of tractor is this?
This is a 1913 J.I. Case 30-60, and only a few have survived over the last century. Originally, about 500 were manufactured by the Racine, Wisconsin manufacturer, and now the estimate is five remain. This is the first of this model to come up for auction in years.
Made from 1912 to 1916, it was powered by a 1,885 cubic-inch two-cylinder engine. That’s 30.9-liters if you were wondering. It used kerosene for fuel, at 365 rpm. This was hooked to a one-speed gearbox transferring power to the rear axle. The Case 30-60 was a two-wheel-drive unit. Its cooling capacity was 680 quarts.
How powerful is the Case 30-60 tractor?
But this thing was no bullet train, as deceiving as the cubic inches may suggest. It only saw 30 hp using the drawbar, and 60 hp using the belt. That belt is over a foot wide and 32-inches around. The 60 hp doesn’t sound too bad, but this sucker weighs 25,800 lbs! The cab has a metal canopy attached to a wooden platform.
Case started manufacturing agricultural equipment that predates the machine age in 1842. A form of the company is still manufacturing farm equipment under the name Case IH. The “IH’ portion of the brand is the old International Harvester name, another farm equipment manufacturer. Tenneco bought the International Harvester side of the company in 1985. It merged it with Case to become Case IH.
This is the world’s most expensive tractor
Not only is the Case 30-60 the most expensive vintage tractor today, but it is also the most expensive ever. The closest thing to this price is the currently-produced Case IH Quadtrac, which sells for $600,000. The 30-60 was auctioned through Aumann Auction’s Pre-30 online auction. It is going into a private collection in the Northeast, according to Aumann.
“Scarcity and demand drive prices for these antique tractors,” says Kurt Aumann. “Then there is the historical significance of the tractor being the first model of a gasoline tractor Case built.” When J.I.Case first started, it built steam-engine-powered farm equipment like threshing machines.
This 1913 J.I. Case model cost $2,500 when new, which is around $72,000 today, adjusted for inflation.