- Beautifully presented example
- Rarely seen in the U.S.
- An ideal addition to any Porsche collection
In the 1930s, Ferdinand Porsche built several prototypes of the Volksschlepper, a small tractor that farmers with small family plots could purchase and increase their productivity. The initial prototypes of the tractor featured petrol power, but it was decided that an air-cooled diesel was better suited. The project was given the green light by the German government in 1937, however production of the Porsche diesel engine did not officially begin until 1950. By 1954, demand was strong enough to require a larger facility and the newly incorporated Porsche-Diesel Motorenbau GmbH (a subsidiary of industrial giant Mannesmann AG) moved into the renovated Dornier-Zeppelin aircraft plant. The new line consisted of four models – Junior, Standard, Super, and Master – that ranged from 15 to 50 hp.
Ultimately, over 120,000 Porsche-Diesel tractors would be sold worldwide, and the company went so far as to establish a North American subsidiary in Easton, Pennsylvania. But the scale of American farming was not well suited to the smaller Porsche. The sheer volume of competitors meant that only 1,000 units found buyers, mostly to small East Coast farms and orchards.
This 1960 Porsche-Diesel Junior is an excellent example of the 109 model, which was the slightly larger of the two Junior models produced. It is powered by a 15-hp, 53 cu.-in. single-cylinder, air-cooled engine. It is a lovely and well-restored example, correctly finished in traditional Porsche-Diesel red, the signature livery of the entire Porsche tractor line. The paint quality is excellent on both the body and chassis, and the sheet metal on the fenders and distinct rounded nose is straight and in excellent condition. It rides on a set of correct cream-colored wheels that show high-quality finishing and are shod with excellent rubber.
The Junior is first and foremost a tool for work in conditions that required the utmost in dependability, so creature comforts and trim are essentially non-existent. But despite its rugged simplicity, it is a great-looking machine, with pleasing, simple style and plenty of character. The collectability of all things Porsche has drawn renewed attention to these wonderful tractors, and it now seems that most serious Porsche collections include at least one of these air-cooled diesel workhorses. Equally, enthusiasts of classic tractors appreciate the Junior for its functionality as much as for its classic style. This is a lovely example, beautifully presented, and is ready for action on the field, be it the farm or show.