The tractor that I’m about to show you today is one I lovingly refer to as “The Spork of Tractors.” Produced by Avery Farm Equipment as their go-big-or-go-home attempt to save the company, the tractor was a fascinating concept that never really took off. Like a spork, it was intended to be a two-in-one solution for farmers who could only afford one tractor. With a jack and a half-hour of work (so the advertisements said), the tractor could be easily converted from a wide-front to narrow-front configuration. The rear wheels could be set at a variety of treads as well, allowing one tractor to plant and cultivate a wide selection of crops.
The tractor, if you haven’t guessed by now, is the Avery Ro-Trak. Because it lacked a conventional front end, springs were included in the vertical tubes.
The tractor boasted a powerful 6-cylinder Hercules engine. Some owners have complained that the engine is too powerful for the differential gears and report that they failed often. Other complaints include difficulty steering and under-powered brakes. Perhaps Avery could have fixed these problems if they had more time and money – but the company’s weakened financial state no doubt made innovation difficult.
While it’s an interesting concept, the tractor never took off. Production ceased with the start of World War 2. Avery had already gone through a succession of reorganizations and didn’t resurface after the war.
Today, the Ro-Trak tractor is highly collectible. It’s such a unique piece of innovation! Have you ever seen one?