1979-80 Mitsubishi D1500 4WD Diesel Tractor


We haven’t had a tractor in a while here at Barn Finds, so here is a 1979-80 Mitsubishi D1500 4WD Diesel Tractor! That’s a mouthful but this tractor can handle the load. This one is at the Big Toy Consignment Auction in Glencoe, Minnesota with a current bid price of $1,300 and there are less than two days left on the auction. This is probably around a $2,000 tractor so it could be a good buy for the right person.


As you may have guessed, this was primarily a Japanese market tractor and several of the forums that I’ve read say that they’re a gray market import but they were imported to the US. They are supposedly super reliable and tough, which isn’t real surprising. This tractor has the famous rock box on the front bumper to even out the weight of any implements that you may be using on the rear PTO. It’s a fairly simple yet ingenious balancing system, almost one of those forehead-slap-I-could-have-had-a-V8 sort of things.


The seller doesn’t give any info on this one, unfortunately. “Approx. 17 HP, 15HP @ 540/1000/2000 PTO, good tred, stamped 71C80248 From what I’ve read these are 15 hp, 17 hp, or 19 hp, I’ve seen all three numbers. Let’s see a show of hands of the folks who would love to own a small, 4WD diesel tractor like this! I thought so; me, too.


Here’s the cockpit, so to speak. The D1500 comes with a “gear drive transmission, which is a mechanism which utilizes toothed wheels that interact and transmit rotary motion, generally transforming angular velocity and torques.” Now there’s a mouthful! I would love to have a small 4WD tractor like this for just goofing around in the yard, hauling wood, plowing the driveway, or tilling the garden. Here are a couple of guys in Romania working a field with a similar tractor, on YouTube; pretty impressive for such a small tractor!


This is a 2-cylinder, 764 CC, liquid-cooled diesel with around 15-19 hp, just enough for small tasks but obviously you aren’t going to use it for serious farming duties, although that YouTube video was pretty impressive. This is a 1,200-pound tractor so it’s not light by any means, but it’s small enough to not take up a lot of garage or shop space. Could you find a use for a 4WD diesel tractor like this one? I know that I could.


  1. Pete Member

    Great for driveway maintenance. Its the other side of the country!

  2. Jay M

    Great barn find, wish it was in my barn. These are rugged little machines, and you rarely see one for sale. If you have an acreage this is a great alternative to a Kubota or small JD. Keep the oil and fuel clean and they will outlive you.

  3. Francisco

    What that Romanian You Tube video doesn’t show was that the field was already plowed, and probably by a full sized tractor. The PTO tiller on the Mitsubishi was simply breaking up the clumps left by the plow. The Mitsubishi on Barn Finds is severely limited in its utility by the fact that it doesn’t have a hydrostatic drive. The ability to regulate speed and direction with just two foot pedals is essential when using such utilities as a mower, plow, and rear PTO devices, especially in small areas.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    God help you to find parts for that thing. It’s a cute little tractor but if I was in the market for something that size, I’d source it from the domestic companies. True, tractors like a John Deere 650 would cost more and are still built in Japan but you can at least get parts for them. You can also mount a loader on the domestic brands and not worry about them breaking in two. I might add that a friend just picked up a used JD 850 for $2000.00. It’s got a JD loader and a PTO. The previous owner overheated it and cracked the head….

  5. Howard A Member

    1st, to be clear, in tractor circles, it’s “Front-assist”, not 4 wheel drive. While these are cute and useful for the homeowner, they don’t really do a very good job, and are horribly underpowered. I’d think, a loader would be the best thing for this, even with the cheap Asian hydraulics, as it doesn’t have enough power to do much else. I have a friend with a “New Holland”, front assist tractor, similar to this, only a 3 cylinder diesel, and it just doesn’t have enough power. When talking machines like this, to quote Tim Taylor, ” more power is better”.
    And a special thanks for Scotty, who brings us this different stuff, especially on the weekend, when the other authors tend to take time off.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard. I just happen to be around this weekend, the other folks have been taking up my slack for weeks (months?)..

  6. Dave Wright

    Operators always need more power. There are several of these laying in local scrap yards. I don’t do oriental, but my impression is they run well but when they brake, they are so expensive to fix that most go to the smelter. My more modern John Deere equipment also has gone to the oriental dark side but they do support there products in near perpetuity.

  7. Bingo

    I’ll be bidding on this one. My wife is out of town next week and she never goes in my shop. She’s afraid of mice. This could blend into my stuff with ease. Glenco is close by and I’ve got some cash waiting to leave my wallet.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, I like your thinking, Bingo!

  8. Jay M

    Well, my neighbor has one, and never had any issues with it. It is not under powered for it’s size. Slow, yes, but tremendous gear reduction makes it feel much stronger than it probably is.
    He fabricated a cab for it and plows his driveway in the winter. In the summer it pulls a mower deck or roto-tills their various gardens. No front end loader, so I can’t comment on if it could handle the stresses of one, or even if it’s heavy enough/stable enough for that useage. It makes a Kubota feel down right car like in comparison, but it is a solid and torquey little unit for it’s class.
    I think this is a great little unit for the money.

  9. Clinton

    Man….if it were closer I’d be all over this thing. I just finished scraping the driveway at my place BY HAND. I need one of these little guys around this place and front assist is a must. Where can I find a deal like geomechs???

  10. Kent

    Here is the information on the model tractor:
    But is it an International Harvester in disguise?
    From 1982 to 1984 IH sold something like this from Mitsubishi
    It’s possible the parts might not be hard to find.

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