An explanation of the “N” series of Ford tractors follows: Henry Ford And The "N" Series Tractors Explanation of the numbers 9-N, 2-N, 8-N. The model number 9, 2, 8 indicates the year the tractor was introduced. The letter "N" is the designation for "Tractor". The 9-N was introduced in 1939, the 2-N was introduced in 1942 and the 8-N was introduced in 1948. Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 on a farm in Springwells Township, Wayne County Michigan. He grew up with his parent’s, two sisters and four brothers. He had an intense interest in mechanics at an early age. He built his first automobile in 1896. By 1906 his interest turned to farming. He once said, "I have walked many a weary mile behind a plow and I know all the drudgery of it". What a waste it is for a human being to spend hours and days behind a slowly moving team of horses". With this frame of mind he set out to develop his first tractor in 1907. In 1910 he organized the Henry Ford and Son Company to further tractor research and design in Dearborn Michigan. In 1916 the first experimental Fordson Tractor was built. By 1920 there were a total of 200,000 Fordson tractors built for the year. In 1927 the tractor manufacturing operation was shut down due to a poor farm economy. In 1928 all tractor operations and equipment was moved to England. The move was expected to be temporary but the depression lengthened the time period that Ford tractors would be built in England.
In 1938 Henry Ford made the famous "Handshake Agreement" with Harry Ferguson. Harry Ferguson invented and patented the three-point hydraulic lift system for tractors. Henry Ford was impressed with the advantages of the linkage and extra pulling performance achieved with the Ferguson system. The two had much in common. Both were farmer's sons, and both had stayed close to the farming scene. The two agreed to work together to produce a completely new tractor. The two men simply shook hands on the deal and agreed they would work together in a spirit of mutual trust. Henry Ford would manufacture the tractors and Harry Ferguson would market them.
In June of 1939 the first Ford-Ferguson’s began rolling off of the assembly line. The launch price was $585.00 there were 88,888 9-N tractors built until 1942. In 1942 when tractor production was hit by shortages of raw materials because of the Second World War, changes had to be made. The introduction of the 2-N saw the rubber tires replaced with steel wheels and the generator, starter and battery eliminated, a magneto was added to replace the distributor ignition. By 1943 the rubber tires, battery, starter and generator were all back on the tractor and it was virtually the same tractor as it's predecessor, the 9-N. There are very few people that recognize the designation of 2-N as it was virtually the same tractor as the 9-N.
There were 197,129 2-Ns built when production ended in 1947. In 1945 Henry Ford II took control of the company and with the tractor division losing money decided to end the handshake agreement that his grandfather had made years prior with Harry Ferguson. This was done so the Ford Motor Company could gain control of the marketing of the tractors. In June of 1947 the 8-N was introduced for the year 1948 with very brisk sales and more than 40,000 tractors were sold before the end of 1947. Prior to the introduction of the 8-N all tractors were painted a drab machine gray. The most noticeable difference of the 8-N was the lighter gray and red color scheme. The most notable mechanical change was that the 8-N now had a four-speed transmission versus the three-speed transmission used in prior models. A position control was added to the hydraulic system and was located on the right side under the seat. This control lever when engaged would override the automatic depth control and keep the implement at a constant depth.
The most appreciated change for the operator was that both brake levers were now on the right side and could be operated individually or together using the right foot. This allowed the left foot to operate the clutch. Running boards were added along with a seat that would lift up and tilt back to allow operation of the tractor in the standing position. The 8-N was a tremendous success for the Ford Motor Company with 524,076 units being built and sold by the end of their production at the end of 1952.
Specifications for the 8-N
* Wheelbase 70 inches at 48” treads width
* Front to drawbar length 115 inches.
* Height 54.5 inches
* Width, normal tread 64.75 inches.
* Weight, with gas, oil and water 2410 lbs.
* Front and rear tread 48 to 76 inches in 4 inch steps.
* Front tire size 4" x 19"
* Rear tire size 10" x 28"
* 4 cylinder L head.
*Cubic inch displacement 119.7.
* Maximum drawbar rating 23.2 horsepower.
For most purposes, a man with a machine is better than a man without a machine".
(Additonal information on Henry Ford