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Tractor Trendsetters: Case 70 Series

Dec 14, 2012

Tractor Trendsetters: Case 70 Series

Written by Larry Gay

In the Farm Tractors 1950-1975 book, author Lester Larsen reported the North Dakota State Highway Department started developing safety frames for its highway mowing tractors in 1959 to protect the operator if the tractor overturned. The University of Nebraska began conducting demonstrations at its Tractor Power and Safety Days in which a remote controlled tractor with a dummy on the seat was overturned. The tractor was equipped with a frame to protect the tractor during the overturn, but Jughead, the dummy, was always a casualty because there was no frame to protect him.

Cabs for farm tractors began to become popular during the 1960s with aftermarket suppliers selling them as attachments. However, these early cabs offered no protection to the operator if the tractor overturned. In 1966, John Deere announced the Roll-Gard, a 2-post roll-over protective structure (ROPS). A seat belt was included as it was needed to keep the operator in the safe zone provided by the ROPS if the tractor rolled over. A canopy, which attached to the top of the Roll-Gard and provided shade from the sun, was an option. Later John Deere offered a Roll-Gard Cab which was a combination of the Roll-Gard and a cab large enough to fit over the 2-post ROPS.

The J. I. Case Company held its "Intro 70" dealer meeting in the Racine-Milwaukee area during August 1969 and introduced four models of the 70 series tractors for 1970--the 770, 870, 970, and 1070. It was at this meeting that the company retired Old Abe, the eagle on a globe trademark, and replaced it with a Case symbol using white letters with vertical bars on a red rectangle. The new cab for these tractors was factory designed and included a built-in ROPS in its frame, along with a seat belt. Now there was a tractor cab which combined safety with comfort in one package. The comfort features included a choice of three deluxe seats, an isolated platform with rubber mounts, vinyl covered cellar foam padding for noise reduction, tight seals, two pressurizing fans, and optional heat and air conditioning.

The Case 770 was classified as a 4-5 plow tractor, the 870 as a 5-plow tractor, the 970 as a 6-plow tractor, and the 1070 as a 7-plow tractor. These large row-crop tractors could be equipped with an adjustable wide front axle or dual front wheels. The 1070 was powered by a 6-cylinder diesel engine and the 970 by a 6-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine. The 870 and 770 offered a choice of 4-cylinder gasoline or diesel engines. The standard transmission provided 8-forward speeds and the partial powershift transmission with 12-forward speeds was optional. The 3-point hitch was a Category II size and the independent PTO provided 540 and 1000 rpm speeds.

Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books and the "Machinery Milestones" articles in Heritage Iron magazine. To learn more about this magazine which focuses on the 1960-1985 era, go to or call 1-855-old iron.

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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

JH470 - Dobson, NC
always glad to see article about '70 series of Case tractors
2:09 PM Dec 15th


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