TRAC­TOR TALK

1965 FARMALL 806 FWA

Diesel World - - Contents - BY JIM ALLEN

Hugh Forbes’ ’65 806 FWA is about the same phys­i­cal size as the higher-horse­power 1206 to its left, but its burly stance gives it the im­pres­sion of more power. Even though the 1206 was rated with al­most 20 more horse­power, it’s likely the 806 with FWA could give the 1206 a run for its money out in the field be­cause it can put more of its power to the ground. Re­gret­tably, the FWA 806 was not Ne­braska tested, so we have a lim­ited ob­jec­tive pic­ture of how it com­pares on pa­per to the rear-drive units. Typ­i­cally they can de­liver more draw­bar horse­power at the same weight with less wheel slip­page. Fuel econ­omy is an­other strong point be­cause less tire slip­page equals bet­ter econ­omy. Draw­bar pull is typ­i­cally much higher at the same weight. The dif­fer­ences be­come acute when the ground sur­face de­te­ri­o­rates.

When it de­buted for 1963, the Farmall 806 was one of In­ter­na­tional Har­vester’s high points. The com­pany was still punchy from the dis­as­trous in­tro­duc­tion of the 560 mod­els and their host of tech­ni­cal is­sues. The all-new 06 Series put that de­ba­cle to bed once and for all. The 06 mod­els were a gen­uine tri­umph for IH and the new 806 led the charge.

Putting out nearly 95 PTO horse­power, the 806 was the IH pow­er­house trac­tor for sev­eral years and at the top tier for rowcrop trac­tors. Power come from an all-new diesel, the D361. The 806 was of­fered as a Farmall rowcrop model or a Wheat­land style or in­dus­trial. It could be de­liv­ered with a wide front, or a nar­row. AND it could have a driv­ing front axle. IH called it Front Wheel As­sist (FWA), and it’s still known com­monly by that term to­day. This wasn’t IH’S first rodeo with FWA, how­ever.

Through the ’50s, FWA was of­fered by af­ter­mar­ket com­pa­nies and you could see it in­stalled

onto trac­tors of any color. El­wood Equip­ment Com­pany, of El­wood, Illi­nois, had been do­ing that since 1947 us­ing mil­i­tary sur­plus GMC truck axles. When IH in­tro­duced its new line of trac­tors for 1959, El­wood had at­tracted enough good at­ten­tion that, af­ter tests, it was val­i­dated as an Ih-ap­proved, dealer-in­stalled ac­ces­sory. It proved to be a great ac­ces­sory for the farm­ers who needed it.

When the new gen­er­a­tion de­buted, IH re­tained the FWA op­tion but used a dif­fer­ent sup­plier. This time, they went with Amer­i­can Cole­man of Lit­tle­ton, Colorado. Cole­man had been in busi­ness since the 1920s build­ing large all-wheel-drive trucks. That mar­ket was wide open when they started, but by the time World War II was over they were re­duced to be­ing a small fish in a very large pond. Cole­man adapted into build­ing and sell­ing con­ver­sion kits for trucks, light trucks on up to the big­gest there were. As it hap­pened, they were deal­ing with IH, sell­ing kits for IH medium and heavy trucks. It isn’t clear why IH pushed El­wood aside in fa­vor of Cole­man since IH had made no pub­lic com­plaints about El­wood. It could have been that Cole­man was a larger com­pany and a work­ing re­la­tion­ship was well es­tab­lished, or it could have been cost. El­wood con­tin­ued sell­ing kits to deal­ers and in­di­vid­ual trac­tor own­ers of all makes, even for IH 06 model trac­tors.

 In back, it’s a typ­i­cal 806. The Far­malls usu­ally came equipped with a draw­bar, three-point hitch and PTO. This one is sans the up­per link but has dual hy­draulic re­motes. The stan­dard or Wheat­land ver­sion, marked on the hood sides with “In­ter­na­tional” rather than “Farmall,” usu­ally were fixed tread and may or may not have the 3-point or PTO.

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