Waxing Nostalgic About a Tractor

Farmer Iron

I have no favorites in the farm equipment biz, but I do have some fond memories I get to relive once in awhile.

Published on: August 10, 2012

Attending a product rollout is just part of a farm editor's job and while my duties have expanded over the years, I still make it a habit to attend media events I can to keep in touch with what's going on. Case IH held an even this week that included the rollout of the new Rowtrac Steiger tractor (you'll see more of that online soon). But part of the event is a celebration of a corporate milestone.

It was 25 years ago that a newly created company rolled out its first "merged" tractor - the Magnum series. To honor that event, Case IH is providing 100 specially painted tractors (silver of course) to dealers that they can sell.

AGELESS COMPARISON? The Magnum tractor line arrived on the scene 25 years ago, and the 7130 was an innovative machine. Todays Magnum looks a bit different, but carries on the hearitage created at the beginning.
AGELESS COMPARISON? The Magnum tractor line arrived on the scene 25 years ago, and the 7130 was an innovative machine. Today's Magnum looks a bit different, but carries on the hearitage created at the beginning.

During the media event we had a little fun when Case IH pulled an original 7130 - serial No. 2 (No. 1 no longer exists) beside the new Magnum 340. It's a startling contrast that shows how much agriculture has changed in 25 years.

When that original Magnum rolled out there were quite a few firsts:

  • It was the first tractor offered with a power shift and the trusty 18-speed unit performed well.
  • It was the first to use fiberglass body panels, which more than a few farmers questioned, but still look good today when you run across on original 7100 series at work in the field.
  • It was the first tractor line in some time that carried a "brand" in addition to its corporate name - Magnum. That was later followed by Maxxum, and even Puma.

That's the short list, and I'm sure owners of those first machines have their own lists and memories. It was an interesting time with two major tractor makers merged and this was the first engineering progeny of the the marriage.

It was also my first BIG introduction. Remember it was 1986, and the last big introductions had been in the 1970s when times were great. By 1986 there were mergers and acquisitions (and more to come - Agco didn't exist in its current form then - and of course Case IH didn't merge with New Holland until later) and agriculture was going through its mini-depression. So giant rollouts were rare, yet here was the new Case IH pulling out all the stops.

It's nice to look back, but as you look at that Magnum 340 with its high-tech design, its ability to interface directly with implements, it's AFS-ready electronics and its beefier frame you can see just how far we've come in a very short time.

Oh and there is one more thing about these two machines that has changed a bit. Old Serial No. 2 retailed for $69,000 in 1987 when it was introduced. That Magnum 340 as it stands in this picture has a retail price of about $320,000. Inflation plays a roll here - but when roll in all the technology from that Efficient Power Tier 4 engine tech to its on-board network, the enhanced controls, and its operator station design, there's value at that price. Of course, if you like the 7130 I'm pretty sure you can find them in the country hard at work you may be able to pick up.