There are a lot of compact tractors out there that were so well-made at the time of manufacture, that they have become classic pieces of farm equipment that are still in use today.
If you’re shopping around for pre-2000 machines, consider some of these timeless favorites.
1950s: Allis-Chalmers WD45
The 1950s saw some significant changes in compact tractor design: the addition of the three-point hitch, and a redesign to allow for side-entry to the driver’s seat swept across models from various manufacturers, so if you’re on the lookout for a super-retro mount-from-the rear design, you’ll likely have to look a bit further back in time.
Nonetheless, a highly rated machine from the 1950s is the Allis-Chalmers WD45, the first from that manufacturer with power steering. Manufactured from 1953-1957, this powerful little row-crop tractor is the quintessential Allis-Chalmers piece of equipment.
1960s: Massey Ferguson 150
With a three–cylinder diesel engine with 40 horsepower, this adjustable row-cropper also comes in a lower profile model.
Even after so many decades, the diesel engine on the Massey Fergusen 150 is still regarded as being very efficient.
1970s: John Deere 850
In the 1970s, John Deere rolled out their Generation II tractors, which had a Sound Guard body that served to dampen vibrations. In essence, they introduced the first integrated tractor cabs.
The John Deere 850--a compact utility tractor--rolled out in 1978. A compact and versatile diesel machine, it’s often called a “task master”
1980s: Ford 5900
In the 1980s, Ford was a major player on the tractor market, and released this reliable utility tractor in 1985. This classic blue machine was manufactured all the way until 1993, and is still widely in use today.
1990s: New Holland 5030
Ford bought New Holland in 1985, but sold a majority interest to FIAT in 1990. FIAT/New Holland merged in 1999 to form CNH Global, which is the current manufacturer of machines with the New Holland name. In all this back and forth, New Holland/Ford released a 62 horsepower utility tractor in 1992 that is a great successor to the 5900: the 5030.