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Tractor Trendsetters: Oliver Hart-Parr 70

May 10, 2010

Tractor Trendsetters: Oliver Hart-Parr 70
Written by Larry Gay


The Oliver Farm Equipment Company added a second row-crop tractor to its line in the fall of 1935. The Oliver Hart-Parr Row Crop 70 continued to display both the Oliver and Hart-Parr names and featured a 6-cylinder engine and a styled appearance. There was a grill over the radiator and side panels with vertical louvers enclosed the engine compartment. Oscar Eggen, Oliver’s Chief Tractor Engineer, was a student of the automobile industry and applied the trends he observed in autos to this new model of tractor.

The Oliver Hart-Parr 70, with a 2-plow rating, was powered by a 6-cylinder Continental 201-cubic-inch engine built to Oliver’s specifications. There was a choice of two types of the engine, the HC high-compression engine for 70-octane gasoline and the lower-compression KD engine for kerosene or distillate. The two levels of compression were obtained with different cylinder heads and manifolds. The 70 model number was derived from the 70-octane gasoline requirement.

The transmission provided four forward speeds, ranging from 2.4 to 5.9 mph. The seat was unique with a steel rod frame which supported a cloth hammock. Row-crop clearance and an adjustable wheel tread were provided with large diameter rear wheels mounted on a splined bar axle. The rear wheels could be Oliver’s Tip-Toe steel wheels or 8.25-40 rubber tires. Optional equipment included a power lift, PTO, belt pulley, lights, and an electric starter.

During the summer of 1936, two additional models of the Oliver Hart-Parr 70 were announced. The Standard 70 had a fixed width front axle and a non-adjustable rear wheel tread. The Orchard 70 was similar to the Standard 70, but had fenders which covered the top half of the rear wheels. On October 15, 1937, Oliver introduced the “streamliner” styling with an oval grill and engine side panels with horizontal louvers. The Hart-Parr name was dropped and the tractor became the Oliver 70. A national advertising campaign followed for the next 70 days, matching the tractor’s model number.

Farmers soon realized extra power was available with high-compression gasoline engines and by 1939 the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation was advertising 12 companies were selling tractors with high-compression engines. The other tractor companies began to add styled features to their tractors during 1937-1939.

Larry Gay is the author of four farm tractor books including A Guide to Hart-Parr, Oliver and White Farm Tractors. This book may be obtained from ASABE at 800-695-2723 or asabe.org, click publications, click history books, click Oliver.  

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