Renaissance of popular Versatile tractors

Renaissance of popular Versatile tractors

Machinery
The Versatile 620 Delta Track in action towing a new Seed Storm seeding bar which is sold through McIntosh & Son branches.

The Versatile 620 Delta Track in action towing a new Seed Storm seeding bar which is sold through McIntosh & Son branches.

Aa

"Many owners tell me they are the best deep ripping tractor on the market."

Aa

VERSIES are back: though arguably you would be right to say they never went away.

It's just that over the past three years, there have been more farmers wanting to give the new Versatile Delta Track tractor a closer inspection.

PFG Australia WA manager Dave Rogers puts it down to two things - an association with machinery dealers McIntosh & Son and soil amelioration work involving heavy machines working to depths of 900 millimetres.

"Many owners tell me they are the best deep ripping tractor on the market," Mr Rogers said.

"The 620DT, with its 620 horsepower (463 kilowatts) Cummins engine, puts the power to the ground while using less fuel than competitive brands.

"We're definitely seeing sales trending upwards and a lot of that has to do with the demonstrations held by our sole dealers McIntosh & Son.

"It has led to news getting out about the performance and fuel savings and a lot of guys looking over the fence checking out our owners.

"But it's true the Versatile name went quiet for a while and was certainly not the household name they were in WA 40 years ago when they commanded the market share with Steiger.

"I think that's changing quickly now as the sons whose fathers owned Versatile tractors back then realise nothing has changed in terms of their simplicity, power to the ground and reliability."

Old Versie owners would certainly get a kick out of how the machine has evolved sitting in the cab of the DT.

Versatile's big claim when it updated its models in those days was, "we haven't changed much because nothing much needs changing".

For many of the younger generation the Versatile story is an interesting one.

The Canadian company Versatile was the first to mass-produce articulated four-wheel-drive tractors, starting in 1966 with the D100 and G100 four-wheel drives.

They were primitive by modern standards, with a six-cylinder Cummins diesel or eight-cylinder gas engine producing 75kW (100hp) and the selling price was $10,000.

Founder Daniel Pakosh also developed the first bi-directional tractor in the world - the Versatile 150, which was launched in 1977.

The company painted the tractors a distinctive red, yellow and black and they were also known for their flat, boxy appearance.

At one stage in the late 1970s, Versatile built a 448kW (600hp) model named 'Big Roy' after fellow founder Roy Robinson.

After a solid demonstration program with this Versatile 620 Delta Track model, it's time for follow-up by McIntosh & Son sales staff. PFG Australia WA manager Dave Rogers (right) tells Merredin branch manager Rob Pauley, service manager Jay Costantini and salesman Corey Harken that stock will be on its way by November. "It would be prudent to talk to McIntosh & Son over the next few weeks to secure a model for 2021," Mr Rogers said.

After a solid demonstration program with this Versatile 620 Delta Track model, it's time for follow-up by McIntosh & Son sales staff. PFG Australia WA manager Dave Rogers (right) tells Merredin branch manager Rob Pauley, service manager Jay Costantini and salesman Corey Harken that stock will be on its way by November. "It would be prudent to talk to McIntosh & Son over the next few weeks to secure a model for 2021," Mr Rogers said.

It was at the time the world's largest horsepower tractor.

But its commercial models stretched to 350kW (470hp) in its then flagship 1150 model.

In 1987, Ford New Holland bought Versatile and quickly started assimilating the Versatile range of tractors.

The decals were replaced with the Ford name and the Versatile name was reduced in size and placed below the model number.

Additionally the iconic Versatile colours were replaced with the Ford blue and white.

Throughout Versatile's time under Ford-New Holland, various changes and updates were made to the line.

Two of the most notable changes were the transition from the flat square sheet metal, to a more rounded and modernised design, with the addition of a powershift transmission.

In 1991, Fiat Geotech purchased Ford New Holland to create New Holland.

Then in 1999, New Holland merged with Case Corporation to create CNH Global.

As part of this merger Versatile had to be sold, as the Case Corporation had the Steiger brand since 1986.

Versatile was sold to Canadian manufacturer Buhler Industries Incorporated, which painted the tractors red, yellow and white.

In 2007, Russian combine harvester manufacturer Rostselmash Inc acquired 80 per cent of the common shares of Buhler Industries and decided to retain the Versatile brand name as the sole name associated with the tractor division.

In 2016, Versatile expanded its tractor range by adding the Delta Track system of four tracks on its articulated tractors and a year later returned to painting the Versatiles in their original colour scheme of red, yellow, and black.

  • More information: contact your local McIntosh & Son dealer.

The story Renaissance of popular Versatile tractors first appeared on Farm Weekly.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by