TRAC­TOR TALK

1961 JOHN DEERE 4010

Diesel World - - Contents - BY JIM ALLEN

John Deere com­pletely and ut­terly changed its trac­tor model lines for the 1961 model year. Gone were the 2-cylin­der “Pop­ping John­nies” that had de­fined the com­pany for decades prior. Re­plac­ing them was a sleek line of trac­tors that were new from the ground up and from nose to tail. New in­line four and six-cylin­der en­gines re­placed the long-stroke two-cylin­ders and the new gen­er­a­tion of John Deere be­gan. The pub­lic de­but came on Au­gust 30, 1960, in Dal­las, Texas. They called it “D-day”—for Deere Day—and no ex­pense was spared for the 6,000 guests. It took on the pro­por­tions of a high-class Broad­way de­but and a di­a­mond-stud­ded trac­tor was un­veiled at the down­town Dal­las Nie­man-mar­cus store, with suits and for­mal gowns dom­i­nat­ing. Later, 136 new trac­tors pa­raded around the Dal­las Live­stock Coli­seum along with the other hard­ware pro­duced by Deere & Com­pany.

By no small coin­ci­dence, the de­but was dubbed “The New Gen­er­a­tion of Power.” Deere had ob­served In­ter­na­tional Har­vester’s 1958 “New World of Power” hoopla and sought to ex­ceed it. Do­ing so was an­other di­rect and pur­pose­ful chop at I-H with the jagged cleaver of fate be­cause “Big Red” was still reel­ing from its 560 fi­nal drive de­ba­cle.

At the end of the 1950s, both com­pa­nies had known they each were go­ing to un­veil sweep­ing prod­uct changes at roughly the same time. Their ap­proach to it was dif­fer­ent. The I-H strat­egy was to beat Deere to the “New Gen­er­a­tion Draw” at all costs. That led them to a fa­tal mis­take: putting an up­dated line of trac­tors onto the mar­ket be­fore it was ready for prime time. Deere’s ap­proach was more a mea­sured, “no wine be­fore it’s time” deal and al­lowed them to step over Big Red’s tem­po­rar­ily pros­trate form, take a ma­jor sales lead, and hold it for the rest of In­ter­na­tional Har­vester’s time as a cor­po­rate en­tity. Deere went from a 23 per­cent mar­ket share in 1959 to 34 per­cent by 1964, mak­ing it the top man­u­fac­turer of farm equip­ment in the United States.

 Gary Nagel’s ’61 4010 Rowcrop has Deere’s “Roll-o-matic” knee-ac­tion nar­row front axle, which was part of the stan­dard rowcrop pack­age. One un­usual-to-the-in­dus­try fea­ture Deere fa­vored was the side in­lets for ra­di­a­tor cool­ing air, hence the side grilles for­ward of the en­gine. This did sev­eral things, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the amount of chaff that could clog the ra­di­a­tor and cause over­heat­ing. It also added a bit to the wheel­base, which added to trac­tion and sta­bil­ity. The fuel tank was also lo­cated for­ward of the en­gine to fur­ther bal­ance the trac­tor.

 With the New Gen­er­a­tion trac­tors, Deere de­buted a 3-point hitch that was touted as be­ing far above the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion trac­tors. This trac­tor ap­pears to be a fac­tory “bare­back” unit, shipped with­out the op­tional 3-point hitch. It does have the op­tional dual range PTO, which could be changed from 540 to 1,000 rpm, the swing­ing draw­bar, a sin­gle set of hy­draulic re­motes, and the “Com­fort” seat. Base price for the 4010 Rowcrop gasser was $4,116 and the diesel en­gine added $700.

 The big news for the 4010 was the Syn­chro-range trans­mis­sion. It had a sin­gle lever from which all eight for­ward and all three re­verse speeds could be ac­cessed. This gear­box trans­lated well into the higher-power 4020 with few changes. One of the changes was to lock one of the re­verse speeds that Deere con­sid­ered too “fast.” John Deere spent a good deal of time on the op­er­a­tor’s sta­tion and it had ev­ery­thing that was needed but noth­ing that wasn’t. Power steer­ing was stan­dard. Check out the stor­age box in the lower mid­dle.

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