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Have You Seen the Five Millionth IH Tractor?

If Not, Now’s Your Chance

Joe Neville

November 29, 2008  


Thirty-five years ago, IH was busy planning for a one in five million event. This had never been accomplished by any company before and it would happen at the Farmall Plant in early 1974. Many ideas were considered to commemorate the event, but it was finally decided that since there could only be one five millionth tractor—only one would be produced. And what a tractor it was.


The tractor was a Farmall 1066 SN #35153 which was highly optioned. It sported a hand applied special paint design with unique pin striping, chrome plated front wheels, and a muffler and stack were added to complement the design. It rolled down to the end of the assembly line on February 1, 1974, where presentations were made by management and commemorative gifts were given to employees that helped with its production.


I was an IH employee in Marketing at the Northwest Regional Office in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was told that the tractor would be on display at numerous farm shows and events that coming season. It made its first public showing in February 1974 at the National Farm Machinery Show, but I was not scheduled to participate there. With great anticipation, I had to wait for the Farm Progress Show held the following September.


As I helped to prepare for the show, the truck finally arrived after we had the main tent erected and ready. The tractor was covered with a specially fitted vinyl cover to protect it from the elements. As we removed the cover, we still couldn’t get a glimpse of the paint scheme as it was covered in fitted padding that had to be carefully removed. At last it became visible. Wow! I’ll never forget that first glimpse! We drove it to the tent and positioned it, polished it, and made ready for the show.


Thousands of people came through the display over the next three days; maybe you were one of them. A special certificate was given to those who came by to view this historical tractor. After the shows that summer, I never saw it again.


In 1976, the five millionth tractor was auctioned off to dealers during the dealer introduction meeting of the 86 Series Tractors at McCormick Place in Chicago. The winning bid went to a group of  thirteen Montana IH dealers for $40,086.86. After the presentation of the tractor to the dealers, IH announced that the proceeds would be given to the Montana State University for studies to further improve tractor operating efficiencies. After several years of rotating amongst the various Montana dealerships, it was moved for permanent display to the Montana State Agricultural Museum in Conrad, Montana.


As of today, it’s still in Montana—but not for long. The Iowa Chapter #5 Red Power Club is bringing it to Iowa for display at the 17th Annual Winter Convention March 5 – 7, 2009. So come out to see it, get your picture taken with it, and you will even be able to purchase a finely detailed limited production 1/16th replica of the five millionth International 1066 tractor by Ertl. Even the box will be special.


I look forward to seeing it again, and I look forward to seeing you at the convention.

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