We were lucky enough to have two fine examples on display at our 'Sportscar Together Day' 70th anniversary celebration and the owner of one (formerly both!) was happy to answer a few questions, about these extremely rare Porsche models.
1. How did you acquire a Porsche-Diesel tractor?
I bought my first Porsche tractor when I was just 17, much to the concern of my Dad, when I simply told him I had bought a Porsche. Previously I had a vintage Ferguson tractor that I restored and sold and the profit I made from doing this allowed me to buy the Porsche tractor.
Since then I have acquired a small collection of Porsche tractors. The tractor I attended the 70th anniversary event with was actually purchased from Belgium to use for parts on one of my other restoration tractors. It was purchased over the phone, having only seen pictures, however once I got it home I soon realised it was actually in great original condition and it would have been criminal to take parts off and I have ended up keeping it.
2. Why a did you go for a Porsche-Diesel tractor?
I am a massive Porsche enthusiast and my other interests include vintage tractors, steam engines and generally anything mechanical. Having a Porsche tractor is a great way to combine my passion for Porsche and vintage tractors. I also love the high level of engineering that you can see has gone into the tractors just like the cars.
3. Do you use it for work, or is it purely an enthusiast piece?
The tractors are enthusiast pieces however I have used it to commute to work before on occasions. We use them regularly for moving/shunting trailers around and also a large steam engine boiler.
Their main use is for road runs and general fun and one tractor is fitted with a mower attachment so I have cut the grass with it too. We have a good group of us who meet up with various vintage tractors and we plan a route off the main roads visiting local pubs and places of interest taking in the scenery at a more sedate pace.
4. Do you own a Porsche car as well? If not, would you like one?
I do not currently own a Porsche car, it is my aim to own one and hopefully this will be possible in the near future. My Dad had a Cayenne S Hybrid that I used to borrow to tow the tractors about with. I was very fortunate that the first Porsche car I drove on the road was a 997 GT2 and it got me totally hooked, confirming to me that one day I would like to own my own Porsche car.
5. Would you ever sell it?
I sold my first Porsche tractor to a close friend so I still see it often and get to drive it. I don't intend to sell this one, however if something comes along that I need the money and space for then one may be sold. I don't see myself ever being without at least one Porsche tractor.
6. Any funny stories with the tractor?
It is always funny when you see people's reaction when they didn't realise Porsche made tractors. I always joke with my girlfriend as we also have a 1957 Lamborghini tractor. I say to her do you want to go out in the Lamborghini or Porsche tonight. They are both 2 seat roadsters, she can't say I'm lying.
7. Where has the tractor been? Anywhere particularly interesting?
The tractor has been to the Wolverhampton Porsche centre, which is always good fun, and we are always really well looked after there. Through Wolverhampton we were invited to the 70th anniversary celebrations at Cholmondeley Castle, which was a fantastic day.
The tractor will be attending the Silverstone Classic in July where it will be on display in the Porsche Club GB marquee. We are currently planning a Porsche tractor special at next year's Tractor World show in February. We hope to get as many Porsche tractors together as we can.
8. What are Porsche-Diesel tractors worth?
The price is totally dependent on condition and which model. The bottom of the market would be a single cylinder that needs restoration, which can be picked up for a few thousand pounds. It should not be underestimated how much money a restoration can swallow up.
The top of the market would be the 4-cylinder master, which can fetch up to £50,000 but are very rare in this country. Most well restored tractors fetch between £10-£20K. With classic air-cooled Porsches fast appreciating in value the tractors look to be increasing slowly in their slipstream.
9. What technical information can you provide about the Porsche-Diesel Tractor?
Porsche made tractors from 1937 until 1956 in collaboration with German company Allgaier GMBH and Austrian company Hofherr Schrantz with both companies using the Porsche engine design. In 1956 Porsche took over all tractor production and the tractors were named Porsche-Diesel. They made the tractors until 1963 when after a few months of poor sales they decided to shut the tractor part of the business down almost overnight to concentrate on the automotive side. They sold the business onto Renault who wanted the business to establish their tractor dealer network.
Porsche built 4 basic models. 1 cylinder 'Junior', 2 cylinder 'Standard', 3 cylinder 'Super', 4 Cylinder 'Master'. Producing between 14 and 50 bhp the engines are 4 stroke air-cooled like the equivalent Porsche car of the time with engine size ranging from 822cc to 3500cc.
Depending on the model they have a top speed of between 12-20mph. Being air-cooled gave advantages on the farm, as there was no worry about anti-freeze and allowed the tractors to have the lovely curved bonnet you see, as they didn't need a radiator.
So, now you know. Legendary sportscar maker Porsche, once made perhaps one of the most un-sporty of vehicles ever imaginable. It is quite the story. We would like to thank Tom Sanders, who displayed his Porsche tractor at our Porsche 70 celebrations and for taking the time to enlighten us all on what it's like to own an interesting part of Porsche history.