THE TWO FACES OF THE IH TD-6 CRAWLER
Diesel World|September 2020
The 1950s was the last decade in which the small crawler was a player in the agricultural tillage game. To that time, crawlers (A.K.A. tracklayers) offered farmers a lot of drawbar power in a small and economical package.
JIM ALLEN

By the 1950s, wheeled tractors had narrowed the drawbar power gap in the smaller tractor markets. Plus, farms were getting bigger, requiring faster travel between fields. To a farmer that only worked his section out back of the house, a 5 mph crawler was fine, but as farms got bigger and fields were separated by road travel, the 15-25 mph road speed of the wheeled tractor became just as important as the being able to pull larger implements with less horsepower.

In this installment, we give you the juxtaposition of the same model crawler outfitted two ways; one for agricultural work and the other for construction and earthmoving. They are both essentially the same crawler and share the same ability to mount implements, but each was sold for a different purpose.

The TD-6 was the smallest in an updated line of new International Harvester tractors that debuted in the late 1930s. It debuted in 1940 and joined the big TD-18, the medium TD-9 and several others in a range to counter the Caterpillar juggernaut that had been sucking a lot of the air out of the room in the crawler market. Initially dubbed “TracTracTors,” they were good enough to be a challenge to Cat and they sold pretty well. The TD-6 was equivalent in size and power to the Cat D-2 but was actually in production to 1969 in various forms, much longer than the D2 that ended in 1957.

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