1959 Porsche-Diesel Junior 108 K
Sold For $51,520Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- Beautifully restored in the Netherlands
- Recently overhauled air-cooled, 20-hp diesel engine
- Seldom seen in the U.S.
- A delightful and wonderfully presented Porsche Junior
Ferdinand Porsche was not just interested in building a people’s car. In the 1930s, he began work on an accessible, high-quality tractor for rural and industrial use. Three prototypes of the “Volks-Tractor” powered by a gasoline engine were built by 1934, but the outbreak of World War II curbed development for several decades. In 1953, series production commenced. Numerous models ranging from 11 to 55 hp were available over a nearly 15-year production run.
The well-made tractors eventually proved popular in Europe, but their road to farms was a bumpy one. Post-war restrictions meant that only companies that had built tractors prior to the war could restart production. Porsche shopped around for a partner to license his design. Eventually, the fledgling company found Mannesmann AG, who refurbished and expanded the former Zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen-Manzell, Germany, near Lake Constance, to build the tractors.
The Junior 108 was by far the most popular thanks to its more affordable price. It was powered by an air-cooled, one-cylinder, 822-cc engine with Bosch diesel injection paired to a six-speed manual transmission. The Porsche Junior’s engine was initially rated at 11 hp, but revisions in 1959 boosted that figure to 15 hp. The innovative, modular Porsche engine was also available in two-, three-, and four-cylinder configurations—all air-cooled, of course.
More than 125,000 were built, but only a handful made it to the U.S. due to stiff competition from domestic tractor manufacturers and the high cost of shipping across the Atlantic. The U.S. importer, American-Porsche Diesel Corporation of Easton, Pennsylvania, struggled with the tractors’ comparatively high price tag. The more popular Junior model cost about $1,750, while the Super’s price surged to $3,600 in the late 1950s.
Spending its whole life in Europe, this example was restored in the Netherlands and is painted the traditional red with off-white wheels. Continental tires wrap around its 16- and 24-in. wheels. It shows some limited signs of use but has long been retired from the rigors of farm work.
No Porsche collection is complete without such an attention-grabbing tractor, which represents an important part of the marque’s early history.