(first posted 7/4/2015) Happy Independence Day, America! 1976 was a big year for America, and numerous companies got into the spirit of things with Bicentennial-themed products. We’ve covered several of them here, including GM’s Spirit of America edition Nova (among others). In the course of researching a new(ish) tractor I just bought for the farm, I ran across the pictured Case 1570 Spirit of ’76 edition tractor – turns out a number of ag manufacturers offered patriotically-themed products, too.
Case built a total of between 200–300 of the 180hp Agri-King 1570s in patriotic livery, preceded by six model 1370 tractors (pictured above).
In addition to the large tractors, Case also built six model 446 garden tractors that took part in the 1976 Racine, WI Bicentennial parade, subsequently being sold by select Case dealers.
A toy version of the 1570 was also offered by Ertl.
Other ag manufacturers got in on the act, too, including the Massey-Fergusons seen above…
The huge Steiger Panther II…
And the International Cadet 76 of which 3,504 were produced from 1975-76.
Here’s the rest of the ad from the lead picture. It’s been another ~40 years since that was written, and while the basics haven’t changed much, technology certainly has put a new face on large scale farming since then.
As for me, I’m headed out to rake hay on my 60 year old “no technology” Ford 8N before we head out to watch fireworks tonight. A Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans, and I hope our global audience enjoyed this quick peek back to 1976 farming in America!
Here, some proper shoes for you….old school, and proven technology.
Happy Independence Day !
I want that International Cadet 76 so bad!
Google, do your stuff.
So judging by the familiar “Cadet” script, did IH used to produce the garden tractors now known as Cub Cadet? Fascinating…
This article especially the last photo gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I wonder how popular these livered tractors were and if they cost extra? I imagine there are not too many if any originals left.
You see one or two every now and then, but not too many. They were great for PR, but most farmers I know would never have special ordered one.
That scheme almost made that Steiger look like an IH at first glance…
Most likely they were ordered by Case dealers for PR purposes, demos, etc and then sold off to a local farmer at a nice discount. Sort of like the tractors used in IH’s “Red Power Showdown” demonstrations in the late ’70s/early ’80s. A farmer who was a good friend of my grandparents had one of those demo tractors, complete with the IH “branding iron” and “Red Power” decals on the hood
There is one of the Case tractors still being worked on a farm about 20 miles from where I live. It has what looks like original paint although somewhat faded. I have seen it pulling a planter and other equipment. They also have some newer tractors that they use. I also have noticed that they keep all of their equipment inside when not in use. That is probably why the Case is in such good condition.
Yes I want that Cadet too! But I am stuck with a 2004 John Deere L120, and a 1969 Wheel Horse Charger 12 that is about to get a new 13hp electric start 420cc hemi thanks to Harbor Freight…sigh…
Spellcheck: “Ertl” is the toy company.
Words cannot express my happiness at seeing another agricultural-themed article here.
It’s nice to see the diversity. Sometimes, farmers do take a tractor through town. If I see an Oliver at a gas station, can we call that a CC? 😉
Thank – fixed.
Red, white and blue was everywhere in ’76. And, naturally, it was used extensively as a marketing gimmick. It would be hard to call Americans of 40 years ago any less cynical about about the motives of vendors in offering patriotic livery, but a tractor seems a particularly honest place to put it.
With just a decade + to the next milestone, 250 years, one’s mind projects with wonder (and not a little trepidation) the use of the national colors we will see. Things have changed so much in image generation and dispersal.
One place to put the stars and bars is gone, though. The caboose, that romantic cottage office at the tail end of a train now relegated to a pop culture siding, was a perfect billboard in 1976.
I certainly like those special celebration editions. But as matador says above, I think that farmers prefer the factory colors when ordering new equipment and don’t special order a celebration edition. Many years ago Ford had a “Silver Edition” tractor, you can imagine what color it had. Yet farmers didn’t like it, a Ford was blue and white, period. Some dealers even repainted the ones that were traded in, to get a higher price. And now it’s a collector’s item…
Most things here get an orange (re)paint job when there’s something to celebrate. Thanks to the Van Oranje family, the royal family.
In 1996 PACCAR took over DAF Trucks. I remember seeing the three family members below -in exactly that color scheme- at a US car & truck show in 1997. The DAF 95XF was just introduced back then. It had the new DAF XF 12.6 liter engine, which evolved into the current PACCAR MX-13 engine.
DAFs are still mostly presented in full-orange. (website, brochures, exhibitions etc.)
A friend of mine has an ’81 Harley Heritage model pining away in his garage for many years. When the company was bought back by the Davidson’s from AMF, they made a discreet number of bikes painted in olive brown with orange accents, the original H-D colors. It is said that each dealer received one bike, so there were less than 500 made. My friend’s bike, which he bought new, was repainted white by the dealer because he couldn’t sell it in it’s celebration livery.
Here’s a picture of one as they came from the factory.
Now that’s a really neat color combo !
Here’s the 1989 Ford 7810 Silver Jubilee Edition.
Looks sharp, Johannes! I suppose anyone who bought one had to endure some teasing, though. Spending extra for an anniversary color might be considered dilettante amongst the descendants of peasant farmers.
I don’t think it was that, and probably they weren’t more expensive than the ones in the standard color.
In a way it’s just “not-done” to change the factory color scheme of farm tractors. John Deere, Fendt, Deutz-Fahr and Hürlimann are all green (as main color), yet all in their own distinctive shade of factory-green. Other paint jobs / color schemes are out of the question, even among non-farmers (companies who buy a big farm tractor for earth moving, for example).
Plus of course the advantage of global standardization and the cost-aspect….
White Farm Equipment did a similar thing with the American series of tractors. Since White owned Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline, and Cockshutt, they offered the tractors in the White Grey (No pun intended), Oliver Green and White, Moline Yellow, and Cockshutt red.
The silver ones are the most common, but are now worth the least.
As far as I know White and Oliver tractors were never sold here. But I remember reading about the neat green / white Oliver tractors on CC.
Since there was a 1989 Silver Jubilee Ford, a 2014 Golden Jubilee New Holland was a logical follow-up.
Those two and the Fendt Black Edition (below) are the only farm tractors in special colors I remember and saw. Fendt is a member of the AGCO-Group, just like MF, Valtra and Challenger.
…and of course the NH Golden Jubilee Edition wasn’t gold.
Now that really would have gone too far…
On the topic that’s come up of other colors being available: I know until at least the New Generation (1960), you could order your John Deere in any color you wanted, but unless it was green-and-yellow, industrial yellow, or highway orange, it would cost you extra. Farmers being the cheapskates–er, I mean, spendthrifts–that they were, you’d be hard-pressed to find a John Deere painted any other color scheme than those three.
Cool article .
Smaller farms like our Dairy one could never even think about buying a new tractor .
The big articulated MF and Steiger tractors are really nice. A bit too much for the conditions here….
The only tractor used here that came close, and was reasonably common, was the 1972-1991 MB Trac. A sort of XL-Unimog.
I looked up some pictures of Steigers, and several of them seemed to have that same shade of light-green.
Case 1570 Spirit of ’76 edition tractor – appreciate that the brochure photo is with the tractor doing real work, muddy tires and all.
That Steiger tractor reminds me a little bit of a Kirovets.
I have never seen one of these despote living in a farming state. It is amazing what passed for a big, modern tractor back then compared with now.
Up for sale soon.
507 433 0073 on the 1570
Thank you for the great history! I saw an excellent model at a local tractor show in August. My Dad gave me a little history and now you have filled in the gaps nicely.
Here are the pictures I took at the time.
My uncle had a Cadet 76 just like that one. Slowest damn thing you’ll ever see but it was a good worker. I don’t have any pictures of it(unfortunately)because I never thought it was cool. He sold it in 1998 to get a new Ford tractor.
They’re still out there – shot this one at a tractor show in TN last year.
If you have to mow the lawn, it might as well be on a Cadet 76. I love all of this…Happy 4th, everyone!
A few years before, John Deere had experimented with offering their 10hp garden tractor in a choice of five colors – red, orange, blue (metallic!) and yellow with the color applied to the hood and seat two-toned with white chassis wheels and engine; along with the traditional green-and-yellow which outsold the others combined.
It seems that Johannes was right, particularly in the case of people shelling out for a JD lawn tractor, which is a premium brand in that segment. They want all the neighbors to see them on a John Deere green lawnmower!
There’s a bumper sticker for that: “Trucks are red. Tractors are green.”
The Patio Series in question:
If Evil Knievel was a farmer, these would be the types of tractors that he would own!