Are you in the market for a vintage tractor? If that is the case, you might have been thinking of getting the classic Ford 600 tractor. Is it still worth getting one today? And is it reliable even though it is more than 70 years old? Find out through this article about Ford 600 Tractor specs and review.
First manufactured in 1954 and continued up to 1957, the Ford 600 Series of tractors were iconic. It looks like the Ford NAA (Golden Jubilee) and uses the same Red Tiger engine capable of 31 horsepower. There were several model variants included in the 600-series. They used numbers to denote the presence of a particular type of transmission, PTO, or hydraulic system.
Read on to learn about the Ford 600 Tractor specs and review. Hopefully, you will learn everything you need to know to make this hefty investment without any regrets later.
About the Ford 600 Tractor
Mass-produced from 1954 to 1957
The Ford 600 Series of tractors were mass-produced from 1954 to 1957. Although production only lasted three years, the Ford 600 proved a popular machine.
Equipped with 31-horsepower Red Tiger Engine
This tractor shared a lot of design cues from the previous Ford NAA (Golden Jubilee). It also used a similar 31-horsepower Red Tiger engine.
There were many models of the Ford 600 produced. Ford used numbers to denote the different models and whether there is a specific transmission, power take-off, or hydraulic system.
Ford 600 Models
Here are some of the Ford 600 models:
- 620 – This tractor came standard with a 4-speed transmission. It does not come with a PTO or 3-point hitch.
- 630 – It uses a 4-speed transmission but without PTO.
- 640 – For this particular model, you will notice a 4-speed transmission. It also has PTO and a 3-point hitch.
- 650 – This variant is among the top-of-the-line models. It has a 5-speed transmission. It also features non-live power take-off and a 3-point hitch.
- 660 – This tractor comes with 5-speed transmission. It has live PTOe and a 3-point hitch.
There are very few differences between models in terms of how they differ in looks. However, there is one way to differentiate them from the other tractors made by Ford. You can find this through the “Ford 600” badge emblazoned on their radiator grills.
Ford 600 Review
Many People Liked Its Compact and Classic Design
There were many Ford 600 tractors made during the three years it was in production. Despite that, they are still collectible today. The main reason is that many people liked its compact and classic design.
Standardized Tractor Parts
In addition, you can still find many of these tractors being used in small and large farms or homesteads. Fortunately, Ford used standardized parts for their tractors.
This is the reason why there are still quite a lot of spare parts that you can buy today. Most of them are reproductions, though, as Ford ceased production decades ago.
Uses a Standard 3-point Hitch Suitable for Modern Attachments
In addition, because the Ford 600 uses a standard 3-point hitch, you can use modern attachments. However, you must consider if your particular model has enough power to use the said attachment.
Can Produce a Respectable Amount of Torque
Even though the Ford 600 series of tractors are small and compact, they can produce a respectable amount of torque. Since the 600 series are coupled with the native 4-wheel drive, they are great for all types of terrain.
The tractors are also famous for being great collectibles. It is mainly because of their excellent design and smaller and more compact size. They are also very powerful and functional. This is why you can still find it on farms, regardless of size, today.
It also has readily available parts. It boasts of a standard 3-point hitch, indicating its compatibility for use with modern implements. Just ensure that the tools are within the tractor’s horsepower range.
Ford 600 Specs
The specs of the Ford 600 vary depending on the model. However, the basics are still essentially the same. The following are the usual specifications for the 640, 650, and 660 model variants of the Ford 600:
The Ford 600 tractor shared the same engine as the Ford NAA. This was the Golden Jubilee model of their tractor line. The 132 cubic inch overhead valve, inline 4-cylinder, gasoline Red Tiger engine can produce up to 32 horsepower. This is more than enough for most farming tasks.
In the UK, Ford’s British Fordson variants came with diesel engines, which was relatively uncommon in the US.
The base model, meaning no additional attachments included, has a base shipping weight of 2,800 pounds. The Ford 600 is quite heavy for a small tractor, especially compared to modern standards. The reason is that the tractor mainly uses cast iron for its material.
The base models of the Ford 600 come with 4-speed manual transmissions. Meanwhile, the high-end models come with a 5-speed transmission. In addition, the base models use dry single disc clutches, while the high-end model uses dry double clutch discs.
The Ford 600 tractor has an average overall height of 58.7 inches and an overall length of 121.4 inches. It also has a total wheelbase of 75.18 inches, making it easy to maneuver. By today’s standards, the Ford 600 is a compact tractor.
Brief History of the Ford Tractor
Ford Began Mass-producing Tractors Before Automobiles
Here is something that most people do not know. Ford began mass-producing tractors before the company made automobiles. The first Ford tractor rolled off the factory line in 1907. Meanwhile, the Model T first came out in 1908. However, they did share the same production line for a while.
First Ford Tractor
Henry Ford saw great potential in the manufacture of farm equipment. It was his company that was reportedly the first to mass-produce tractors. In 1907, the first Ford tractor rolled off the production line, called the “Automobile Plow.”
At the time, the first tractor was quite impressive. It featured copper water jackets and a high-powered engine with lower maintenance than the competitors.
Led to Establishment of Fordson Brand
It was such a massive success that it led to the Fordson brand, the company’s agricultural machinery arm. The company would experience several name changes, from Fordson, Ford, and Ford-New Holland.
Launched Fordson Brand in 1918
By 1918, the Fordson brand officially went into the market. Despite being a completely new model and product by the brand, Ford kept the production costs of the tractors low. This is why the prices of tractors were able to stay low and thus accessible to more farmers.
During the 1920s, most of the tractors in the US (almost 75% actually) are Fordsons. Apart from being used to raise the amount of food, they also make other farming tasks much easier. People are using Ford tractors to haul lumber or coal. Ford revolutionized the way farmers do their jobs.
Ford Sold Its Tractor Manufacturing Arm to Fiat
Ford sold off its tractor manufacturing arm in 1991 to Fiat. This is so the company can focus on its car manufacturing side. This was the company’s strategy to go back to its car-making roots.
Is the Ford 600 a Good Investment?
Are you in the market for a classic tractor, preferably an affordable one? Do you also want to make sure it is not that costly to restore and maintain? If you answer yes, you can try out the Ford 600 series of tractors.
These are no-nonsense classic tractors, highly reliable, and have few electronic components. This vehicle is mostly analog. The main reason is that it was made back in the 50s.
This makes them easier to fix. Unlike modern tractors, you have to deal with many electronics and computers. Unless you have specialized equipment, you won’t be able to do routine maintenance.
Performance-wise, this tractor is only capable of producing up to 31 horsepower. Despite that, it still does have a lot of torque. Also, coupled with a 4-wheel drive, this tractor can go anywhere.
Again, what years did they make Ford 600 tractor? Ford made the Ford 600 tractor from 1954 until 1957. This tractor is equipped with the Red Tiger engine capable of 31 horsepower. Also, this tractor is available in many different models, which vary in the type of transmission, PTO, or hydraulic system.
Benefits of Owning a Ford 600 Tractor
Although discontinued for decades, the Ford 600 tractor is still one of the most desirable farm equipment on the market.
Here are some reasons you can consider yourself lucky if you can snag one of these tractors. Many also consider these reasons the primary benefits of the Ford 600:
1. Highly Reliable
One of the biggest reasons you would want to get a Ford 600 series tractor is its inherent reliability. You can find lots of these tractors that are in good running condition. They might not be in good condition cosmetically, but they are still in working condition.
These tractors do not break down as often as some other brands. This means you usually do not have to worry about taking your tractor for repairs.
All you have to do is to change the engine oil regularly. You also need to use the proper coolant. By doing that, you can be sure that your Ford 600 will continue to be reliable.
It is safe to say that Ford 600 tractors are easier to repair than modern tractors. The reason is that it was manufactured during an era when vehicle owners had to repair their vehicles themselves. You do not need any fancy diagnostic computers or specialized tools.
You can do anything you want to Ford 600 tractors. It is also unlike those modern tractors locked by manufacturers, so owners can’t even do essential maintenance themselves.
Everything is accessible. The engine and other components are not as complicated as modern vehicles too. That said, anyone with basic mechanical knowledge can figure it out quickly.
3. Many Available Models
Another good reason for owning Ford 600 tractors is the many available variants. For instance, if you need a four-wheel drive for rough terrain, you can find a specific model for it.
You can also find a Ford 600 if you need something simple like a 3-point hitch. In addition, you are not just limited to domestic models. You can also buy Ford 600s from Europe.
Downsides of Owning a Ford 600 Tractor
Yes, there are indeed lots of benefits to owning a Ford 600 series tractor. However, note that there are also a couple of downsides to owning this vintage tractor, namely:
1. Rare and Expensive Spare Parts
One of the most significant downsides of owning a Ford 600 is that it is more than 70 years old. This does not mean that this tractor cannot go for a couple more decades. It is just that parts are scarce, which also means they can be costly.
Because this tractor is more than 70 years old, Ford has discontinued manufacturing spare parts for its models. The problem is that reproduction spare parts might not have the same quality as OEM parts.
Finding a Ford 600 tractor that is in pristine condition is quite difficult. Again, this tractor model is decades old, so the ones you will find for sale are usually project tractors. This means you will usually get dilapidated Ford 600s.
You have to fix it up yourself before you can use it. If you don’t have the budget for repairing and restoring a run-down tractor, then you should not go this route.
Meanwhile, if you can find a Ford 600 tractor in pretty good condition, expect it to be expensive. A Ford 600 that is in pristine condition is extremely rare.
Because of their rarity, you can expect them to come with a hefty price tag. However, the nice thing about this is that you can use it immediately.
Ford 600 Problems
Although the Ford 600 series of tractors are pretty reliable, they still have a couple of issues. The most common ones are:
1. Troubles with the Front Axle
One of the most notorious issues of Ford 600 tractors is their less-than-stellar front axles. This is more evident if the used tractor you are thinking of buying has been using a front-loader attachment.
The additional weight of the loader attachment put a lot of pressure on the front axle. Often, this messes up the front spindles and axle pivot pins. This negatively affects the steering and handling of the tractor.
2. Starter Motor Problems
There is a peculiar problem that seems to plague some Ford 600 owners. It is usually about their starter motor. In some cases, the starter motor will not disengage, leading to a discharged battery. In other cases, the solenoid in the starter motor somehow burned out rather quickly.
Ford 600 Price
The prices of Ford 600 tractors for sale will depend on the model and its general condition. This also depends on whether it comes with original attachments or not.
On average, if you are looking for a relatively good-condition tractor, you’re looking at a $2,500 price tag. Meanwhile, if you are fine with a project tractor, you must prepare at least $900 for a rolling rig. Be prepared to pay more than twice that for a proper restoration.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Years Did They Make the Ford 600 Tractor?
The 600 series of Ford tractors went into production for three years, from 1954 to 1957. Thousands of 600 series tractors were produced during the small window of time. You can still find plenty of them around these days.
What’s the Difference Between the Ford 600 And 800 Series of Tractors?
Although these two tractor models look somewhat identical, they are two different tractors. One thing that makes the Ford 800 series different from the 600 series is the engine. The former has a 172 cubic inch engine while the latter has a 134 cubic inch one.
How to Identify the Model of Ford 600?
The model number is not explicitly printed on the exterior of the Ford 600 tractors. You will only find the Ford 600 badge on the grill. To find the actual model number, look at the engine block of the tractor. You can often see it stamped on the left side of the block.
In Closing – Ford 600 Tractor Specs and Review
The iconic Ford 600 series of tractors first rolled off the production line in 1954. It was produced until 1957. The series 600 looks like the Ford NAA (Golden Jubilee) and uses the same Red Tiger engine.
Despite that, there are still some slight differences between the two succeeding tractor models. There are several different models included in the 600 series. Ford used other middle numbers to denote what kind of transmission the tractor uses and if it has PTO.
The Ford 600 might be more than 70 years old. Still, it is one of the most reliable tractors you can buy now. Yes, it might not have the same bells and whistles modern tractors have. It has decades’ worth of reliability and ease of operation.