1939 FORDSON Model N Tractor

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1939 FORDSON Model N Tractor


Though already well on his way toward becoming a tycoon when the world-changing

Model T debuted in 1908, Henry Ford never forgot his childhood spent on the family

farm in Dearborn, Michigan.

Born of a genuinely altruistic desire to ease the burden of farming, as well as an equally

strong dislike of horses, Ford soon steered his growing empire’s unprecedented

resources toward developing the Model T of tractors; one that would improve the

efficiency and quality of life for farmers and their families not only in America, but


The Vehicle

A development of 1917’s Model F, Fordson’s Model N debuted in 1929 with more power,

an improved engine air filtration system, reconfigured rear fenders, and other, largely

insignificant changes.

Production switched from Dearborn to Cork, Ireland, and would later shift again to Ford

UK’s famous Dagenham plant in Essex, England. By the end of production in 1945,

nearly 236,000 Model Ns had been built in plants as distant from Detroit as Leningrad

and Stalingrad, a large majority of which came from Dagenham.

Though large numbers of English-made Model Ns were exported to the United States,

many thousands of examples remained on British soil, and today are given much credit

for helping to sustain domestic food supply during the darkest days of WW2.

On the Outside

Though actually quite a compact machine with a diminutive 63” wheelbase, the Model

N’s chunky looks and outsized 42” x 12” rear tires work to trick the eye and suggest a

much less modest footprint. For some perspective, said tires mount to stamped, cast,

and welded steel rear wheels measuring a relatively modest 24” in diameter; modern

Range Rovers now come with 22” items straight from the factory.

In keeping with Ford’s personal philosophy that machine styling was an unnecessary

and even undesirable embellishment, the Model N’s form was almost entirely shaped by

its function. It’s a handsome, practical looking device regardless, with squat, purposeful

lines highlighted by fascinating construction details such as its patented stressed-unit


On the Inside

The Model N was austere even by the standards of Great Depression and War Era

agricultural implements, and took the functional minimalism of its parent company’s

Model T car to new extremes.

Perched high above and behind the rear axle upon a flat-sprung steel saddle affixed

directly to a massive differential housing, the operator faces a large steering wheel and

enjoys a forward view unencumbered by even a single instrument. Delicate Ford Motor

Company, Ltd., England script embossed into the fuel tank and its raised, black lettered

counterpart directly beneath merely gild the lily.


Power is derived from a gasoline-fueled 267ci L-head four-cylinder delivering 27 hp to

the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission. A PTO or power take-off shaft was

available to run various accessories from 1935, though this example makes do with just

a standard belt pulley for use as a stationary power plant.

The stressed or unit construction method mentioned earlier is a significant feature of the

design, and unitized the engine, transmission, and rear axle to form a self-supporting

frame to which all other components are attached.

This clever bit of engineering saved material, weight, and complexity while greatly

contributing to improved strength and ease of maintenance, and clearly inspired the

highly influential torque tube system later employed to great success by Allis-Chalmers’

similarly iconic Model B tractor of 1937-1957.

History Highlights

This vehicle is being offered without known history.

What We Think

Despite its crude outward appearance, the Model N was actually a highly sophisticated

piece of machinery, and employed carefully considered engineering designed to

improve efficiency at every stage of its development, manufacture, operation, and


This same thoughtfulness is equally useful to modern day enthusiasts, and helps make

a well-kept Model N an ideal port of entry into the exciting world of vintage tractor


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  • Location: Newberg, OR, United States
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: TMU
  • Chassis Number: N/A
  • Engine: 267 cu in. L-Head 4-Cylinder
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Left-hand drive
  • Colour: Gray
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: $6,000 - $10,000

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