J. I. Case and Company – one of the oldest tractor builders – began the 50s selling one of the oldest tractor lines, a line that had been introduced a decade earlier. Over the next 20 years, they developed and introduced four new series of tractors.

  • The Letter Series. At the bottom of this lineup was the Model “VC” rated at 18 horsepower on the drawbar. The Model “SC” was rated at 27 HP. Both of these models were sold between 1940 and 1955. The V series was updated first to the VC and then the VA series in 1942. The row-crop version, the “VAC,” was advertised as “The Tractor for over 100 Farm Jobs.” The Model “DC” had been introduced in 1939, and had 33 HP. The Model “LA” was the largest Case tractor of the time with 51 HP. It was sold between 1940 and ’53.
  • The Hundred Series. When Case began to modernize their lineup, the started in 1953 with their first diesel engine tractor, the Model “500.” The “500” produced 56 HP on the drawbar and became a respected engine. Two years later, Case brought out the “400” series tractors with 44 HP, and the “300” with 23 HP. From 1956-58, the offered the Model “350” with 42 HP. Then, in 1957, the Model “600” joined the lineup.
  • Construction Tractors. In 1957, Case purchased the American Tractor Corporation, a small privately-held company that had developed a backhoe attachment. Case took the hydraulic backhoe apparatus, put a hydraulic loader on the front and married them to several of their tractor models, and a new market was established. The Case Model “320” was the first factory-integrated tractor loader/backhoe. Over the years, these construction models have become big sellers.
  • The “B” Series. From 1958-60, Case offered the “B” series in 12 different power ratings (depending on fuel types) and 124 model configurations to service row crop farmers, rice growers, orchard men, industrialists and other special needs. The line included the “200B” with 26 HP, the “300B” with 28 HP, the “400B” with 31 HP, the “500B” with 39 HP, the “600B” with 41 HP, the “700B” at 46 HP, the “800B” at 49 HP, and the “900B” with 66 HP.
  • The “30” Series. In 1960, Case introduced a new lineup that would stay in their dealers’ showrooms until 1969. Each tractor in the lineup got a power boost, better transmissions and the option of a three-point hitch. The “330” offered around 31 HP, the “430” had 33 HP, the “530” had around 36 HP, the “630” came in at 40 HP, the “730” at 48 HP, the “830” at 56 HP, and the “930” at 75 HP.
  • The high horsepower tractors. Later in the decade, Case joined the horsepower sweepstakes. In 1964, the brought out the Case “1200,” a huge four-wheel drive and four-wheel-steering machine with 106 HP. It weighed over 17,000 pounds and cost over $20,000, so it was useful only to big farmers who had a lot of plowing to do. It was built until 1969. The Model “1030” was built between 1966 and ’69 and was a general purpose tractor with 92 HP.
  • The “70” Series. In 1969, Case closed out the decade with the “70” Series that became the backbone of the company in the new decade. The series was topped by the massive Model “2670” that produced 219 HP at the PTO. [We will cover this series in more detail in the next section of this web site.]

J. I. Case Company began in 1842 to build threshing machines for farmers. Over the years, they expanded their implement and tractor lines often by buying other companies. Along the way, Case, and most other farm equipment manufacturers brought out industrial versions of their tractors.

But Case took the industrial market to a new level. By 1967 – after the introduction of their backhoe model – the construction division of the company was selling as much as the agricultural division. Around that time, the venerable old ag manufacturer was acquired by the energy conglomerate Tenneco Inc. of Houston. That launched a period of consolidation in the agricultural market that characterized the last quarter of the 20th century.

Written by Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First published in 2007. A partial bibliography of sources is here.

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