Dr Ferdinand Porsche looked at agricultural applications of his products as early as 1914 when he used a military Austro Daimler vehicle to plough fields at the Austro Daimler works.
By 1937 Ferdinand had noted that “Tractors must have a low purchase price. Secondly, they must have low maintenance cost. Thirdly, they must be of universal application in agriculture. Sturdy, powerful and foolproof” in a list of criteria for an agricultural vehicle that was to become known as the ‘Volksschlepper’ for which many prototypes were built, but never went into production.
By the 1950’s Porsche had designed a range of four air cooled diesel powered tractors producing 14 – 50 hp with the advantage of all the motors being multiples of the basic 1 cylinder 14hp design meaning all the parts including cylinders, pistons and cylinder heads were interchangeable.
Porsche initially sold the production rights to a German Company called Allgaier who marketed their vehicles as Allgaier – System Porsches, and the Austrian manufacturer Hofherr Schrantz who’s products were marketed as Hofherr Schrantz – System Porsches.
Mannesmann AG bought the Allgaier – System Porsche rights in 1956 and converted the former Zepplin works at Fredrichshafen, Lake Konstanz in to a state of the art facility at which 20,000 units were manufactured in 1958. Production at the plant ceased in 1963 when the facility was turned over to the production of motors for military motors for use in NATO vehicles.
In part to meet the fool proof criteria and in part because the tractor operates most efficiently at constant revs a fluid transmission commissioned from Voith, based on their marine transmissions, for Porsche Diesel tractors, a feature well ahead of the development curve of other tractor manufacturers of the period.
Today’s 1958 Junior fitted with a single cylinder 822 cc / 50 cui 14hp motor is one of the 125,000 Porsche-Diesel tractors produced at the Mannesmann AG facility between 1956 and 1963, when an arrangement was reached with Renault to continue servicing them world wide.
Thanks for joining me on this “Sturdy, Powerful and Foolproof” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Edwardian competition car that was among the earliest to carry sponsorship. Don’t forget to come back now !