The Big Bud 6V 747 is one of a kind, and by that, I don’t just mean it’s a classic, it’s literally the only tractor of its exact kind ever made!
So what’s so unique about the Big Bud 747 and does the company that made it still manufacture tractors?
Does Big Bud still make tractors?
Big Bud stopped making tractors in 1992. The company weathered a recession, bankruptcy, and shifting ownership, but was ultimately no match for the larger farming machinery manufacturers that were establishing themselves during this period.
The behemoth that is the Big Bud 747 is still alive and kicking today, though it spends most of its time as a museum exhibit.
Why did Big Bud stop making tractors?
Production of Big Bud tractors began to slow during the 1980s farming recession amidst growing competition from mainstream tractor manufacturers.
The company, which first traded as Northern Manufacturing Co. and later changed its name to Big Bud, went bankrupt in the early 1980s and was bought by the Meissner brothers in 1985.
Unfortunately, it didn’t survive for too long after this, and 1992 marked the end of the production line for Big Bud tractors.
How many 16V 747 Big Buds were made?
There was only ever one Big Bud 747 made. The company that produced it, Northern Manufacturing Co., went on to make other models of Big Bud tractors but none were as large, as powerful, or as unique as the Big Bud 747.
Measuring an impressive 27 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 14 feet tall, the Big Bud 747 strikes as imposing a figure today as it did back in the 70s.
How much does a Big Bud 747 cost?
Big Bud’s original sale price was $300,000 in 1978. Current estimates place its worth at around three to six times the original value making it the world’s most expensive tractor.
You can find other models of Big Bud tractors for sale on used tractor marketplaces, they are also generally expensive due to their rare status.
Who owns the largest Big Bud tractor?
Robert and Randy Williams of Montana are the current owners of the Big Bud having purchased it in 1997 from the Rossi brothers of California.
The Williams brothers brought the Bud back to life after a period of disuse and it farmed their Choteau County farm which sits within a 60-mile radius of where it was originally manufactured.
The Big Bud is now on indefinite loan to the Hartland Museum in Clarion, Iowa but does still make it out into the community. It was last to be seen in action at the Titan Booth of the 2021 Farm Progress agricultural show.
It was also on display at Abilene’s 100th Birthday celebration in Texas.
How fast does the Big Bud 747 go?
The Big Bud can reach speeds of up to 8 miles per hour covering 1.3 acres per minute. This is a fair bit slower than the average speed of most modern tractors, around 25 miles per hour, faster with the addition of tractor suspension and brakes.
As tractors are intended to perform heavy jobs such as plowing, silage, cutting, and towing, speed is of less significance than torque.
How much does the Big Bud 747 weigh?
The Big Bud’s shipping weight is a whopping 95,000 pounds. With its 1000 US gallon fuel capacity tank full, the Bud weighs over 100,000 pounds, Fully ballasted, it clocks in at around 135,000 pounds.
In comparison, the largest John Deere tractor model, the 9630, has a ballasted weight roughly half that of the Big Bud.
How Much Can Big Bud 747 pull?
When last in use on the Williams’ farm in September of 2020 it was pulling a 35,000 pound 80-foot wide FRIGGSTAD chisel plow or cultivator. The fact that the tractor is still in use and with most of its original parts intact is a testament to its hardy design.
What is the most powerful tractor in the world?
The Big Bud is arguably the most powerful tractor in the world. Ron Harmon and his team at Northern Manufacturing Co. did extensive research to build the Big Bud with a 16-cylinder Detroit Diesel engine (or two 8’s coupled together), giving it sufficient power in relation to its huge weight.
The Bud originally produced 760 HP but over time this was increased to 860, 960, and even 1100. Competitors for the most powerful title include the US-built Case IH Steiger/Quadtrac 620 which has 692 HP.
While the Big Bud’s might is certainly impressive most farming operations don’t require anything near its capacity.
Who is John Deere’s biggest competitor?
Based on 2020 revenue figures for agricultural machinery manufacture, some of John Deere’s strongest competitors are the Japanese manufacturing company Kubota, the Netherlands/UK-owned CNH Industrial NV, and the American AGCO.
Within the US, John Deere remains the relative favorite, but with the competition constantly upping its game, the (slow) race to be the fastest-growing tractor manufacturer drives on.
What is the number 1 selling tractor in the world?
While John Deere claims the prize for most popular US tractor manufacturer, worldwide it is the Indian company Mahindra that sits in the number one spot.
The company was conceived in the 1960s and currently makes the largest number of tractors by volume of any farming machinery manufacturer.
While Mahindra’s rise to number one may in part be explained by the sheer number of tractors it manufactures, it is bolstered by its reputation for producing reliable and durable machines and for responding to customer feedback in the design and tweaking of its products.
The company has been the recipient of awards for quality including the Japan Quality Medal issued by the Deming Prize Committee. Mahindra has been selling in the US market since the late 1980s and currently sits in the top three for American tractor sales.
Withstanding the test of time and remaining relevant in a fast-paced world of innovation and ideas is a rarity the Big Bud has achieved. Who knew that a tractor built in 1977 would 2021 still be at the top of its class.
Jack is the owner, chief editor, and senior writer of this website.
Machinery, engines, and farming have always been a passion of his since he was a young boy. Growing up on a small farm in rural America, he learned the value of hard work and dedication from an early age.
After completing his degree in Engineering, he decided to follow his dream and became a farmer in 2009.
Since then, he has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. He has grown a variety of crops, tended to farm animals, and worked with all sorts of farming machinery. Continue reading…