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1949 Ford 8N: Do You Know A Red Belly?

Despite being employed by another equipment manufacturer, I admit a soft spot for the old “red belly” Ford tractors. They used to be all over the place when I was driving around the rural roads of the Old North State, but I don’t see them anywhere near as often as I used to. This very original looking 1949 8N is for sale here on craigslist in Mount Airy, North Carolina for only $2,000, and if your tastes run to old tractors this might be worth checking out.

Like with most tractors, the business end is where it’s most useful. Those expensive rear tires look pretty decent as well, and the body panels seem largely free of rust and relatively un-dented as well. The iconic gray and red paint looks like it might be original. As I believe in using tractors for what they are intended for, I can easily see cleaning this up, putting a coat of wax (NOT clearcoat) on and leaving it along, as long as I could store it indoors out of the weather to avoid further deterioration.

The seller tells us that the tractor has been converted to 12 volt operation and holds good oil pressure while running. These 8Ns started production in 1947 and was made through 1952. The engine is based on the Model A four cylinder! The tractor incorporates the basic Ferguson three point hitch design that is still utilized on most small tractors today, so for example, you could use this tractor to pull and power a bush type mowing deck even now.

Okay, I’m getting old, so I might source a cushion for that bare metal seat, too! There’s a pretty cool looking one that you can purchase here for less than $38! I sure wish I could get car seat upholstery kits for that price!

“Fully equipped” with an oil pressure and amp gauge, this Ford probably has a lot of usable life left in it. Do you think it will find a home?

Comments

  1. slickb

    My grandpa had two of these… good little tractors.
    I just don’t need one

  2. Doug Edwards

    Very handy for small acreage. Without the 3 point hitch (mounted tools) these would be next to worthless.

  3. Fred W.

    My dad had the Ferguson TO20, same tractor I believe, when I was a teenager and I spent a lot of time clearing the acreage. Fast forward 35 years, I cleaned out his estate and the old girl still ran. Brakes were not great and the 3 mile trip to the new owner’s place was harrowing, but she made it and got a new lease on life. I think I sold her for about a grand.

    • Dick

      Prior to OJ the “trial of the century ” was Ferguson vs Ford over Henry walking away from the deal he made with Ferguson over the 3 point hitch Ferguson invented. It was on the 2N and 9N which preceded the 8N. Ferguson won and received a cash settlement. He was on the stand for over a week. The Ferguson uses an engine that was the basis for the Standard engine that became the father of the Triumph engines in Triumphs and Morgan’s. Ferguson produced his own Tractors based on the Ford as the tooling was already there in the UK. The trial lasted months.

      • boxdin

        same Ferguson as Ferguson Four Wheel Drive ? Built on a Jensen and some other makes too. I remember a Ferguson Mustang?

      • Z1rider

        Henry the 1st didn’t walk away from that deal. It was the Duce, and well after the old man died.

      • Dick

        I stand corrected. Thanks.

  4. Russell

    I like it a lot, but it’s not exactly one of those “fly in, drive home” kind of deals.

    Like 1
    • Derek Hooper

      Those expensive rear tires would be worn through by the time I drove it home 3,000 +/- miles

  5. Dave Wright

    We have a 1943 9N coming out of the shop with new tires, paint and running well. It will be for sale. 12V system, 3 point and back blade…..they are still in every day use here in Idaho.

    • philthyphil

      my family bought one new in 1948…..still in use

  6. Gregory Wooddell

    There are still thousands of the 8n 9n tractors left working today and are for sale all over my area for 8-1200 for many years now. Perfect size for the new weekend warrior farming.

    • LAB3

      The way these are coveted for light duty use they’ll still be using them fifty years from now.

  7. Mike_B_SVT

    Grampa’s old tractor! I remember my Dad driving it from Grampa’s farm, 12 miles to our house on old backroads, so that he could till and level our lot. Then he drove it back.

    They ended up selling it to a family friend who used it for a few years and then sold it again. This is the only “vintage auto” that my wife has any interest in whatsoever. I’m still trying to track down where Grampa’s tractor ended up.
    No idea what we would do with it once we got it, but if she wants a “vintage auto”, I’m darn well gonna do my best to get her one ;-)

  8. Dave

    Good old tractors. Got plenty of them here in Oklahoma. Got my son a 1951 Ferguson T-20 a few years ago to bush hog with at his place. They are basically the same thing. These tractors will last forever.

  9. JW

    When I bought my farmhouse on 3 acres in 1990 the elderly couple gave me a 8N with a loader bucket and bush hog mower. I used it to clean up the 3 acres to manageable condition for a John Deere lawn tractor then spread truck loads of gravel to replace the muddy 1/4 mile circle drive. After that not used much so I traded it for a industrial Lincoln welder on a trailer which I sold for $1600 and a 5 year old John Deere riding mower that kept the 3 acres presentable from the highway.

  10. chad

    like 2 convert mine w/a frnt end loader, there’s kits around & am searchin. Mostly drags around the logs the bronk (see pic) brings home.

    • Gregory Wooddell

      If you put a front loader in also put on power steering,it’s super simple to ad power steering to these

  11. boxdin

    I was the trash guy and used one of these w a 16 foot or so trailer. I learned how to back up trailer w that 8n and also used to double clutch and shift while moving w no grinding. Great memories !

  12. DRV

    I painted dozens of these working for a dealer. He said he owned every 8n in Ohio twice.
    In the late 70s I has a golden jubilee with only a few hours on it, original everything like new. I’m sure the next owner still has it saved in a barn somewhere in southern Ohio.

  13. Davey

    My Grandfather had a Ford Ferguson in the late 40s. He had a small farm in Scotland near where I was born. My Mother says he was on it all the time. She says he even herded the sheep and cows with it along with his collie. I have some old B&W photos of It.

  14. Ron

    I have a restored 1952 8N
    I love it ❤️

  15. Chris in WNC

    they have a design flaw that regularly coats the brakes with grease from the wheel bearings, but I love these little tractors too……

  16. Rube Goldberg Member

    The farm I live at ( for now) has one of these. It was the guys grandfathers 1st tractor after the war. It’s in deplorable shape, probably has never been worked on, no brakes, VERY sloppy steering ( does the shimmy and shake on the road) fouls #1 & #2 spark plug,( that winter of ’67 was dandy, froze the block) but STILL chugs on. It’s amazing really. Not the best tractors, my preference is AC, mostly because this is crude. Non-live PTO ( that’s a pain) and funky gearing, but for what it was at the time, the next step up from horses, it was state of the art. Today, these lead a cushy life, mostly grass cutting, but at one time, these did it all on the farm, and it didn’t eat when it wasn’t being used, like a horse. Single handedly, mechanically revolutionized the farm, it did.

  17. Joey n

    I own a small sawmill company which has a fair amount of Acres it would have a good home there and has a full mechanical Bay to take care of it

  18. Z1rider

    The 9/2/8n tractor engines were NOT based on the Model A engine. They were 1/2 of a flathead V8. Many parts for these will work in the V8. Lots of rebuilders of flathead V8’s sourced overhaul parts from the Ford tractor “house” as they used to say.

  19. aribert

    My father had an 8N when I was in my late teens. Amongst other attachments he had a scoop bucket. He was working the tractor hard using the scoop in clay soil when a cylinder sleeve broke. He continued to run the tractor for several more hours till dark on 3.5 cylinders. We began to strip the engine that night, split the tractor in the morning took it into town and had a new sleeve installed by COB that same day. Tractor was up and working the scoop later the next day. Tractor ended up being traded in on a late model 3 cyl Kuboto diesel with backhoe and front end loader in the mid 80s.

  20. Gearheaddroppings

    My brother-in-law has a 9N on his farm. It was buried in dirt up to its axles for probably 25 years. Probably one of the greatest pieces of machinery every produced by the USA. Simple, elegant, and truly bulletproof.

    They are $800-$1200 in working condition all day here in Michigan.

  21. KKW

    First tractor I ever drove growing up on a farm. There was a company back in the day that did Flathead V8 conversions on these.

  22. Mark-A

    Boxdin, the Ferguson & Ford fallout somehow managed to be put aside as FF (Ferguson Formula) was fitted to a Ford Mustang in 1965, here’s the Wikipedia article about the Manufacturing side of the project), https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferguson_Research

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