The Porsche-Diesel Tractor: History, Origin, Models, and More
All things Porsche Tractor on Automobile.
Porsche-Diesel Tractors Essential History
Immediately following the conclusion of World War II, times were tough for Porsche. The budding automaker still reeled from the war's socioeconomic and infrastructural ravages, and the death of family patriarch and brand founder Ferdinand Porsche in 1951 didn't help to calm the waters. Of course, the 356 soon achieved success starting in the mid-1950s, with over 75,000 sold between 1948 and 1965, but not before Porsche buoyed its financial standings with various contract engineering projects.
Backing up to the pre-war Porsche era, Ferdinand Porsche founded his eponymous engineering and automotive company in Stuttgart in 1931, where he took on contract design work for other corporations. Aside from developing the Type 1 (Volkswagen Beetle) and Kübelwagen for the German war effort, Porsche worked on a range of tractor designs incorporating both gas and diesel powerplants.
Before Porsche managed to begin tractor production, the war ended, and only manufacturers which had produced tractors and similar equipment prior to the war were allowed to continue, so Porsche licensed its tractor designs to Allgaier of Germany and Hofherr Schrantz of Austria. The resulting tractors were marketed as Allgaier-System Porsche and Hofherr Schrantz-System Porsche, respectively.
Eventually, German conglomerate Mannesmann purchased the rights to the Porsche diesel engine and the Allgaier tractor designs and set up a state-of-the-art production facility in an old zeppelin factory in 1954, producing a wide series of tractors under the Porsche-Diesel Motorenbau GmbH nameplate in 1956 before production ended in 1963.
Before the acquisition by Mannesmann, production of the Allgaier AP17 began in 1950, packing a two-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine capable of 18 hp. In 1953, Allgaier launched a range of air-cooled engines with 11 hp, 22 hp, 33 hp, and 44 hp capacities.
After transfer of management in 1954, the Mannesmann-owned Porsche-Diesel range was offered in four distinct flavors; Junior (14 hp), Standard (25 hp), Super (38 hp) and Master (50 hp).
Porsche-Diesel Tractor Highlights
Much like Porsche's more mainstream sports car lineup, the Porsche-Diesel tractors incorporated advanced technological design for the era, notably with the hydraulic coupling installed between the engine and transmission, removing the need for the clutch while shifting in motion.
High prices and plenty of local competition meant Porsche-Diesel tractors didn't enjoy the same level of success it did overseas. Between 1956 and 1963, more than 125,000 examples were produced, with only about 1,000 made it to North America.
Once considered an oddball curio from Porsche's history, Porsche tractors have caught the wave caused by the relatively recent explosion in Porsche fanaticism. Prices have shot up as a result of more collectors wanting to park one next to their 1973 Carrera RS, and there's been increased acknowledgement and participation in official Porsche events, too. At the last iteration of the Rennsport Reunion, a pack of Porsche-Diesel tractors charged down the main straight of Laguna Seca for an impromptu Le Mans-start drag race.
Porsche-Diesel Tractor Buying Tips
Owing to their rugged simplicity and mechanical robustness, there are more vintage tractors still in regular use around the world than you might think, Porsche included. Thanks to the aforementioned upheaval of Porsche interest, there is a sizeable collection of restored Porsche tractors floating around the collector market. The mass majority of these are shiny red concours-perfect mules, so don't worry about having to recondition a leaky, wheezy farm mule to match your polished garage floors, setting you back usually somewhere in the $25,000-$50,000 range.
If you want a Porsche tractor just to futz around some property and have a hoot at the local tractor (or Porsche) show, many solid examples can be had below the $15,000 mark. If you're the savvy type, we suppose a pre-purchase inspection from a local tractor specialist wouldn't hurt, but these are simple machines that could be fixed and maintained by most DIYers. It's likely better to just bite the bullet and fix any simple issues that arise later on.
Porsche-Diesel Articles on Automobile
Hoping for an in-depth test drive? Yeah, so are we—someday. Considering this vintage agricultural implement struggles to reach its 15-mph top speed, we're not holding our breath for a local cruise. Got some land and a shiny Porsche-Diesel Junior to drive through a field? Hit us up! We'll bring snacks.
Still buzzing from our Rennsport Reunion high, we reckoned this is the cheapest way for air-cooled Porsche thrills.
Speaking of Rennsport Reunion, check out that tractor-on-tractor action at the 2018 event.
Porsche-Diesel Tractor Recent Auctions
A clean, well-presented 1962 Porsche Diesel 238 Standard Star Tractor sold for $23,900.
This ultra-clean concours-ready 1958 Porsche Diesel Junior 108K with Rennsport Reunion pedigree failed to sell at a high bid of $35,000.
An original condition 1963 Porsche 217 Standard Diesel claimed $15,250.
This project 961 Porsche 217 Standard Diesel cost just $5,000 two years ago
Porsche-Diesel Tractor Quick Facts
- First year of production: 1950
- Last year of production: 1963
- Total production between 1956-1963: over 125,000
- Original price: $3,600 (in 1956)
- One of the coolest things to accentuate a Porsche collection
- Drag race the Lamborghini tractor owners to show off
Porsche-Diesel Tractor FAQ
You have questions about Porsche tractors. Automobile has answers. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked Porsche tractor queries
Did Porsche make tractors?
Technically speaking, no. Porsche engineered the design of the exterior and mechanical bits, but the physical production of the tractor was handled by outside manufacturers. Still, the tractors made between 1956-1963 proudly wear the Porsche script.
Does Lamborghini make tractors?
Yes, they do! However, if you're hoping to find images of a massive harvester being assembled next to a Huracan Performante, you're out of luck. The two companies are entirely separate entiries, though Lamborghini Trattori retains the use of the stylized Raging Bull mascot.
Does Ferrari make tractors?
We can see a theme developing here. As much as we'd enjoy seeing a red-over-tan Ferrari tractor plowing the fields, Ferrari has never—and very likely will never—produced anything remotely related to farm equipment.