The Most Popular Tractors of All Time

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For more than a century, tractor manufacturers have been pumping out machines in mass quantity. Starting with the “tractor revolution” in the early 20th century that saw millions of machines enter the fields to replace livestock and advance farm production, all the way to today’s modern tractors that see hundreds of thousands of new tractors sold per year.

We’ve decided to compile this list of the most popular tractors of all time to give readers a perspective on the history of tractors as well as consider the massive popularity of today’s tractors. Since our readers are predominantly located in North America, we will limit the list to North American sales.

While actual sales numbers of specific modern tractors are usually a tightly held secret by manufacturers, we are able to determine a tractor’s popularity by checking how many are owned by TractorByNet members. We hope you enjoy this fun list of the most popular tractors of all time.

Most Popular Tractors, in Chronological Order:

Fordson F (1917-1928)

With more than 750,000 Fordson F tractors sold betwen 1917 and 1928, this machine goes down as one of the early classics, and an extremely popular one at that.

Interestingly, the name Fordson is from Henry Ford.

Because Ford Tractor was already used by a Minneapolis-based tractor manufacturer, and Ford Motor Company was not willing to produce tractors, Henry Ford started a company independent of Ford Motor Company to build tractors. It was called Henry Ford & Son, or Fordson.

The Fordson F was powered by a 20-horsepower engine and weighed 2,920lbs.

Fordson F Specifications

Horsepower: 20 (engine)

Cylinders: 4

Fuel tank: 21 gallons

Weight: 2,920 lbs

Chassis: 4×2 2WD

Steering: Manual

Transmission: 3-speed constant mesh gear drive

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30 Comments

  • We added a couple to the list, Martin. Including the Allis Chalmers B and the Farmall F series.

  • Interesting that your Farmall H has widely-spaced front wheels.

    I grew up with one, and it had a tricycle configuration.

  • Glad to see you included the Kubota B series and the Massey Ferguson 35 and 135’s.
    But for me, the list would include the Allis Chalmers CA.
    One of the strongest tractors in it’s class.

  • The Oliver tractor was the first 6 cylinder tractor and also the first tractors to have live PTO’s.

  • The 2N Ford tractor is painted like a 8 N Ford. The 8 N’s were called red bellies because of their paint jobs. The 2 N’s were all gray except the rear rims.

  • Kubota had B5100-B7100 tractors which really were the first subcompact tractors here in the US.

  • The 8000 series Allis Chalmers produced from 1980 to 1985 were well ahead of the competition in their cab design and their power shift trans was the best at the time.

  • Ford 2N. “…switched from battery and alternator…”
    Alternators didn’t appear on tractors for decades later.
    Generator, perhaps?

  • Love my 8N, it’s not a show machine but a work horse. It has a Wagner bucket and a road blade. With forks on the bucket I have have unloaded a refrigerator from a UHaul van, mowed 4 acres, landscaped, moved large rocks, etc.
    It has saved my back and my wallet!

  • I think the 4020 recognition should be upgraded to all of JD’s 20 series.

  • The information on the John Deere “A” is not completely correct. I have a 1949 JD “A” and it has 6 speeds forwards and 1 reverse. There is a high/low arrangement with 1st & 3rd, 2nd & 4th, and then 5th & 6th on the shifter….

  • Farmall F-30.

    5,300lbs 2wd making 30hp and no loader. Those were the days of HEAVY iron.

  • The John Deere 50 Series are all YANMARS painted John Deere green. Most of the JD 50 Series folks know this and love the machines. The US Yanmar models are of the YM Series.

  • There has been several surveys done by agricultural groups , by contacting real farmers not want to bees. By far the John Deere 4020 came in number 1 and the Farmall M # 2

  • In my part of the US the prime workhorse tractors in the 50’s and early ’60 are Caterpillar D4 and D2 steel track crawler tractors.

  • In SouthWestern Ontario, it depended on the Dealer. Massey Harris 33,44, 444 and the Pony, Colt and Mustang were the most popular where I grew up.

  • what about the AllisChalmers wd or wd45/

  • Farmall H and John Deere 720 were and still are solid tractor.

  • I don’t own one, but surprised to not see an Oliver listed, I had always heard those who owned one loved them. A good tractor lost to a corporate merger and haggling.

  • MF35 is probably the only tractor in the world that has been in continual production from 1960 until the present day. It was/is manufactured under licence in Turkey and India, and in 2015, was also put into production again by AGCO (current owners of Massey Ferguson) when they identified a need for such a specification in east Africa.

  • Grew up with Oliver’s 770s and 880s I thought were great tractors until they became White. Also had a 9N, NAA and got Ford 1720, 4WD, 3-cylinder Diesel in 1990 and still use it all the time with minimal down time in the shop for repair.

  • Maybe not a tractor of these sizes and capabilities, but I definitely think the Gravely “Model L” deserves a mention here.

  • If you really want to feel humbled, try writing an article on “The Top Tractors Of The 1900-2000’s”!! 😂😂😂

  • International Harvester’s first diesel tractor was not the MD, it was the WD-40.

  • The Fergusson TO35 was first sold in 1955, badge was changed to MF35 in perhaps 1957. I have a 60 yr old MF35 here, runs good. If you insist on a new one, the MF35 is still being built now in Kenya. Looks about the same. Over the years it has also been built in England, India, Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Pakistan. No JD model M? I learned to drive on one of those, still see plenty of them around.

  • Still using my two 8Ns and I’m 81. They will outlast me I’m sure.

  • MDs were technically not diesels. The fuel was called distillate, and was kinda like kerosene. The engine was started on gasoline, when the temperature gauge rose from cold to run it was switched to distillate, but the spark plugs were still functional. The intake manifold was different so that the exhaust heat was used to heat the fuel, making it a little more flammable. The engine could be run full time on gasoline if need be. An HD version was also available. My dad bought the first model H sold by the local dealer in town. We traded it in in 1951 on another H. I learned to drive on an H. The only MD I saw in person was at Gumz Brother’s farm in North Judson, Indiana.

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