- Cultivating Smiles 5 Mph At A Time
- A Very Nicely Restored Example Of Porsches Early Agricultural Offering
- Powered By An Air-Cooled 14 hp 822 cc Single-Cylinder Diesel Engine
- An Excellent Addition To Any Porsche Collection
This car is currently located in: Philadelphia, PA
Sports cars are what eventually brought Ferdinand Porsche into the automotive limelight but they were not his first foray into wheeled vehicles. While working on making a “people’s car” for Volkswagen, he tried his hand at also making the “people’s tractor”. Prototypes were unveiled in 1934 and proved to be very advanced for the time, especially with their hydraulic coupling between the engine and transmission. The start of WW2 put a halt to Porsche’s tractors but he didn’t let that stop his genius from taking from. By the early 1950s, he already had several diesel engines developed with power ranging from 14 to 55 hp. After WWII, however, the German government decreed that only companies that made farm tractors during and prior to WWII were allowed to continue producing them after the war, meaning Porsche needed a partner.
He eventually turned to German company Allgaier GmbH and Austrian company Hofherr Schrantz who used the Porsche engine design and called their tractors Allgaier – System Porsche and Hofherr Schrantz – System Porsche respectively. In 1956, Mannesmann AG wanted a slice of the growing farm equipment pie and bought the license for the Porsche diesel engine and the Allgaier design. They completely redesigned an old Zeppelin factory west of Friedrichshafen-Manzell, Germany, and began producing Porsche-Diesel tractors until 1963. Over 125,000 tractors were produced in its 7-year lifespan with only around 1,000 sold in North America by the American Porsche-Diesel Corporation in Easton, PA. The main issue stemmed from the high cost of importing Porsche’s tractors into the country, thus making U.S.-built tractors cheaper and more attractive to farmers. When new, the Junior would cost about $1,750 while the Super brought that price up to around $3,600.
This particular example is a 1960 Junior 108 model finished in its signature red color with tan wheels. Unfortunately, not much historical information is known on this example. It appears to have been very nicely restored in Germany approximately five years ago before it was brought into the United States. This example of early company history would make a great addition to a Porsche enthusiast’s varied collection and a standout piece at any PCA event.
The restoration appears to have been carried out in a very professional manner. The quality of the paint is overall quite good throughout, showing a smooth and consistent finish. There are some minor spots of overspray in non-conspicuous areas such as on some of the wiring located behind the swing open door on the dash. In addition, some of the paint was laid down heavily over factory numbering locations making the digits a bit difficult to read. The metal surfaces of the body and main structure appear to have been in good condition even prior to the restoration as there are only some very minor inconsistencies that one could only expect from a piece of machinery that was likely used hard for a good portion of its life. The tires appear to be in new condition, they are Yantai Tyre Factory branded. The wheels are in good shape with nice color and solid metal, showing a few scuffs in the paint on some of the wheels. The fenders are in excellent shape and match the overall quality of the tractor well. The right side fender has a new 7-pin electrical connector installed, but we have not verified its functionality, while the left side has a looped safety catch for anyone accompanying the driver while the tractor is in use. The plastic lights located on the fenders appear to be new and are in excellent condition. The headlights and turn signals work as they should. The small chromed grille in the front is nice and clean with good metal, as is the strip running up the center of the hood. The hood hold-downs are metal versions, versus the rubber units that are often found on these. The data tags throughout the tractor appear to be original and do show a bit of wear and scuffing consistent with original items.
Climbing aboard this tractor, one finds themselves sitting in a nicely finished seat in contrasting off-white seating surface with a red back which is emblazoned with a yellow “Porsche Diesel” sticker. The steering wheel is finished nicely and in good condition, with some minor cracking to the pieces that hold the spokes to the rim, but nothing that really detracts from functionality or appearance. Behind the dash, the wiring appears tidy, although there is a bit of red overspray on some of the wiring. The fuse box is covered with a tidy black cap that is affixed with a screw. The ignition control housing is a bit loose currently and could be tightened down a bit to aid in easier insertion and turning of the key.
Under the hood, this tractor appears clean, tidy, and well-restored just as on the exterior. Painted surfaces are fairly smooth and consistent with great color. Hoses, cables, and wires appear all new. The engine itself is clean and tidy with no outward signs of any issues and the gas tank appears to have been refinished nicely, both on the exterior and interior. The battery appears new and shows no signs of corrosion or issues. The black-painted exhaust has a heat shield on it, a nice aesthetic and practical touch that we have not seen on some of the other examples that have passed through our doors.
The engine fires to life with ease and settles into a smooth and rhythmic idle. During our brief testing, the brakes and clutch work as expected, and the transmission seems to engage gear and hold power as it should. We did not test any of the ancillary components such as the power take-off or the 7-pin connectors but they appear in solid order from a visual inspection.
Overall this is a very thorough and well-done restoration that has held up relatively well with a few minor things that could be attended to in order to make this a fantastic example. Given its nicely completed restoration and careful upkeep, this 1960 Porsche Diesel Junior 108 tractor is no doubt up to the task of display or light duty around the farm for years to come.
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