Written By Larry Gay
In its 1961 annual report, Massey-Ferguson stated it had moved from seventh to third place in U.S. farm equipment sales during the last five years. By 1965, Massey-Ferguson continued to remain in third place in U.S. farm equipment sales and had decided its weakness was in the Corn Belt where 40 percent of all U.S. sales were made. First the company purchased a vacant factory in Des Moines, Iowa, and moved its U.S. headquarters and some implement manufacturing to that location. Then in January 1970, Massey-Ferguson introduced the Massey-Ferguson 1150 tractor as the largest row-crop tractor Massey had ever produced. President John Mitchell stated the company wanted to be Number 1 in tractors in North America, as it was in most other countries in the world, and the 1150 tractor was a step toward accomplishing that goal.
The Massey-Ferguson 1150 tractor was the first row-crop tractor to be powered by a V-8 diesel engine and was rated at 135 PTO horsepower. This was more than the John Deere 4520 row-crop tractor with 120 PTO horsepower or the International 1456 row-crop tractor with 131 PTO horsepower. Since Massey-Ferguson owned Perkins, the power plant for the 1150 was a 510-cubic-inch Perkins V-8 diesel engine. The Multi-Power transmission provided 12-forward speeds with the small Multi-Power lever providing on-the-go shifting between a high and low range. The 3-point hitch was a Category 2 and the independent PTO provided 540- and 1000-rpm speeds. The 18.4-38 rear tires were available as singles or duals.
The flat-deck operator’s station was located above the transmission for good visibility, both forward and rearward. Operator comfort was provided with the Air-Luxe seat with air and oil suspension, hydrostatic power steering, a tilt and telescoping steering column, and power brakes. A cab was optional and it could be equipped with air conditioning and a heater. A Saf-T-Frame (ROPS) was also optional and it could be used with the cab, as it would fit inside the cab.
In early 1971, Massey-Ferguson continued moving into the larger horsepower tractor market by introducing the 1500 and 1800 4-wheel-drive tractors with 150 and 180 drawbar horsepower, respectively. Both were powered by Caterpillar V-8 diesel engines.
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 heritageiron.com or call 1-866-552-6085.