The Farmall C Tractor
Serious antique collectors know about International Harvester’s Farmall tractors and the lasting impression they made on farmers across the U.S. and abroad. One Farmall model that definitely made a mark on American farming history is the Farmall C tractor.
International Harvester introduced the Farmall C tractor to the agricultural market in 1948 under its famous Letter Series. With its CID 113 4-cylinder gasoline engine and 4-speed transmission, it was marketed as a follow-on model to the Farmall B tractor, but with greater plowing capability and power and a slightly larger size. It had an approximate weight of 2,780 pounds without water or fuel, which then hiked up to about 4,500 pounds when full and equipped with implements. Unlike the B model, it had the “Touch Control” system that allowed the operator to lower and raise implements by touching one small lever.
The Farmall C tractor can go as fast as 10.25 miles per hour on an even surface in its fourth gear. Its other speeds are 2.4, 3.75. and 5.0 miles per hour, respectively. Its sole reverse speed is set at 3.0 miles per hour.
Like the previous models in the Letter series—Farmall A and B tractors, the Farmall C tractor was largely used in small farms across the nation. Yet its versatility and durability made it a mainstay of larger farms that require a smaller tractor for lighter tasks. Until now, operators in American farms can be found atop the Farmall C tractor doing little tasks. This is a proof that when International Harvester developed this tractor, they had longevity and durability in mind.
By 1951, International Harvester ceased production of the Farmall C tractor. By this time, approximately 80,000 units were produced and sold to the public. The company subsequently released an upgraded version and called it Farmall Super C. This model had a larger engine, a slightly higher compression ratio, and adjustable rear tire spacing. In a nutshell, its design was a similar to the later models of Farmall tractors. Production of the Super C was terminated in 1954.
A tip to serious agricultural machinery collectors: Look for white-painted Farmall Model C models. Early in 1950, International Harvester released several units of the model C painted in white as special demonstration models to dealers. Many collectors of antique farm machinery covet these units since they are limited in supply or, in simpler terms, rare. It will be a coup to display such a unit in antique shows or auction events.
Another tip for collectors: It is a good climate to buy fully-restored or preserved Farmall C tractors today. Since many units are still being used in American farms today, auction prices of Farmall C tractors are not as high as one might expect for an antique tractor, except for the white-painted units. You can see some units being sold for as low as $1,000, while un-restored pieces can go as low as $750. These prices are a lot cheaper than the original price of the Farmall C tractor, which was set at $1,500.