This month, for the first time in quite a while, I have a Vintage Iron letter. For those long-time readers of my column, I used to have quite a few folks send me stories about their old tractors. For whatever reason, the letters just stopped coming in as often.
But recently I got the following Vintage Iron letter:
I had seen something you wrote about International 1026 gold demos, so I thought I would show you my International 1456 tractor.
The tractor was bought by our family around 1990, I am 35 years old now and the 1456 was the first large tractor I ever operated by myself. I was around 7, I ran a disc with it and I remember having to stand up to push the clutch in.
It has had a few owners since 1990 but all were in the family. In late 2018, I traded a restored family tractor for the 1456.
The tractor also is loaded with options. It has the factory quick hitch, hydraulic seat, auxiliary belly fuel tank, fender radio and a Donaldson pre-cleaner.
In addition, if you look closely you will see it has 5088 wheel castings and dual hubs on the back. The castings were on one model only so they are hard to come by. The castings look the same as the 1566, 1568 and 1586 model tractors but fit the 3.5-inch axles.
My goal was to take a 1456 and make it look as if a 1556 would have been made. This is what it would have looked like.
This tractor still gets used every year and will continue to be used. It also originally came with a cab and right now I am in the process of putting a restored factory cab on the tractor since it had one originally.
Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
I thank James for the interesting story and photo of the sharp-looking tractor. I am a green man through-and-through, but those stout International tractors of the late 1960s/early 1970s are pretty darn cool.
We had good friends and neighbors who had International tractors of that vintage when I was growing up so I'm guessing I have seen a 1456 up close. I will admit, however, I don't know much about this model of tractor.
According to TractorData.com, the 1456 was built from 1969 to 1971. There were 5,592 Farmall row crop versions built and 294 IH Wheatland versions sold for a grand total of 5,886 tractors.
The original price of a 1456 tractor in 1971 was $12,400. The 1456 had an International Harvester 6.7 liter, six-cylinder diesel engine. The drawbar tested 114.69 horsepower, while the PTO tested 131.1 horsepower.
James' tractor had several optional equipment, including the cab. The website said cabs, with both heat and air conditioning, were options on the 1456.
I have always been kind of fascinated by these tractors of the late 1960s and the early 1970s, as this was a time in which tractors were being built with more cabs. There were also many different versions of add-on cabs on the market.
My dad and uncle have a John Deere 4020 on which they put a Full Vision cab probably in the mid-1970s. We now have another 4020 with a Hinkler cab on it.
And you see these cabs on all brands of tractors. I had another uncle who for years had a John Deere 4230 with an add-on yellow cab (this was obviously a 4230 that didn't have a factory cab) and yet another uncle who had a 1960s Oliver tractor with white add-on cab.
I know a lot of folks were not big fans of these cabs that were not sound-proof, especially after newer series of tractors had much quieter cabs, but as someone with fair skin I was just happy to be out of the sun. The old cab, while loud, was kind of nice to be in out of the cold weather on our loader tractor while we pushed snow and fed cattle hay.
Thanks again to James for the interesting story. Do you have story about your vintage tractor?
Send me your story and maybe even a photo and we will use it in a future column. Everything old is new again and maybe we can revive Vintage Iron letters!
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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