One of the most iconic small tractors ever produced is the Ford 9N/2N/8N. Introduced in 1939 (9N), the little Ford tractor became the ubiquitous source of power for many small farms. The tractor replaced the disastrous Fordson, a unit developed in 1917 that went out of production in 1928 in the U.S.
Ford’s early dally with the tractor market ended badly enough that there was little desire among company officials to re-enter the market until something more than a decade later. Unlike the first Ford tractors, however, the 9N was both well-designed and boasted a revolutionary development which would forever change the tractor industry.
The Fordson continued in production in England, where many entrepreneurs made good fortunes improving on the tractor’s many faults. One of those was Harry Ferguson, who developed a new hitch for the tractor that used a three-point mounting system and boasted draft control, which would keep an implement at constant height independent of the load placed on the hitch. After fitting this hitch to a Fordson tractor, Ferguson approached the American Ford Motor Company with his invention. He and Henry Ford made an agreement, legendarily with a handshake, that Ford would use the hitch and Ferguson would be able to distribute and market the tractors after Ford produced them.
The resulting tractors were a tremendous success, delivering the transition from animal power to mechanical power for thousands of small farms across the country. Much like the Fordson, a healthy aftermarket industry arose to provide accessories for the new small tractors. Unlike the Fordson, however, buyers found the new small tractor both versatile and reliably dependable. With its engine derived largely from Ford V-8 parts, robust construction, and safe method of attaching implements, the little Ford tractor sold quite well.
In 1942 the tractor was refashioned into the 2N model, incorporating some small improvements but mostly as a way to get around wartime price controls. Initially 2Ns were equipped with steel wheels and magneto ignition to save precious copper and rubber resources, though most were converted to rubber tires and points-style ignition when resources were available to do so.
In 1948 the tractor was updated again (the 8N), with a four-speed transmission, improved ignition system, and refinements to the 3-point hitch. To set the tractors apart visually, Ford retained the gray color traditional to the 9N/2N on the sheet metal but painted the cast iron mechanical parts red to give the tractor more visual appeal. Many 9N/2N tractors have been repainted in the red scheme though it is incorrect.
This particular example, SN #9N125993 is one of the last tractors produced in 1943. The seller purchased this tractor from the estate of the original owner who purchased it new.