“If I owned your tractor,” I tell Dennis, “I would have to live in it.”
And that’s the truth. His 1938 Minneapolis Moline UDLX would fetch $140,000 – $160,000 at public auction, Dennis tells me.
Ah, yeah, that’s worth more than my house, I think.
But then Dennis’ Minneapolis Moline is only one of 150. And with serial number 310001X, it was the very first production comfort cab tractor ever built. That’s as in the first one to roll off the production line.
Dennis, who has owned his tractor for six years after buying it at an auction in Iowa, says Minneapolis Moline began manufacturing the UDLX in June 1938, but stopped production in December. No one was buying the tractors because of the $2,200 cost, he explains. A typical tractor of that size sold for $800 in 1938.
And farmers were a bit skeptical about needing the comfort of a cab and luxury features like a cigar lighter, sun visor, radio, seating for two and a dome light.
The 5-speed transmission with high range allows the tractor, which I think resembles a car more than a tractor, to travel up to 40 mph.
“Farm during the day, drive to town at night,” a sign on Dennis’ tractor reads.
Just imagine a bachelor farmer picking up his girl for a night out on the town in a Minneapolis Moline UDLX…
NOTE: I saw Dennis’ rare 1938 Minneapolis Moline UDLX at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engines, Inc. show, which ends on Sunday, September 6. Gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. at the show grounds just south of Dundas (Northfield) along Minnesota Highway 3. Watch for more photo blogs from this event.
© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling