Chore Master: 1979 Quadractor 4×4

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Sometimes, at least for me, the most desirable vehicles aren’t the ones that are street legal, or really practical or even useful for everyday life. Such is the case with this rare 1979 Quadractor. It can be found here on craigslist in Richmond, Vermont. The seller is asking $2,650 for this unusual 4×4 with 4-wheel-steering. Thanks to Ed VT for sending in this great tip!

The Quadractor may look like a high school shop project but the engineering involved in creating this machine took the genius of a genius named William Spence. Mr. Spence was an aircraft production consultant and inventor with a dozen patents under his name already when he founded a company called Traction, Inc. in North Troy, Vermont, literally bordering the southern edge of the province of Quebec, Canada. They made everything on site – all gears, pulleys, shafts, steel framing, etc. having a steel foundry right at the factory. They even had their own hydroelectric generating station to make their own power! Yankee ingenuity at its finest.

Logging equipment was a big industry and you can see that the Quadractor is very high off of the ground – 32 inches. It’s made to pull up to two tons despite its 700-pound weight and an operator would strap a log underneath and lift, pull, or drag it out of almost any situation or terrain. Wheel spin was almost nonexistent and with 4-wheel-steering and 4-wheel-drive, the Quadractor could and would go just about anywhere. I know, it really sounds like a fun machine to own, doesn’t it? I would have basically no use for it other than to drive it around the yard and maybe haul brush or gardening tools or something, but still, I want one.

They originally came with an 8-hp Briggs & Stratton engine but this one appears to have a 10-hp on it now. The seller has a ton of great photos so there may be hope for humanity after all! You can see the Quadractor in various states of dress, so to speak, in the photos. You’ll want to keep the side shields on when you’re moving so you don’t become a statistic. Here is a video on SubtleTV showing a Quadractor that was made by a later company who picked up the pieces in the early-80s when Traction, Inc. went out of business.  The more I look at these things and read about them, the more I want one.

Here it is in its birthday suit! This is a really amazing piece of technology and engineering for the time. Quadractors were really rugged machines and not at all spindly as they may appear. They were tough according to a 1979 Mother Earth News article: “During 1978, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation—with help from the U.S. Forestry Service—compared the efficiency of the 8-horsepower Quadractor, a 16-horsepower diesel-fueled Kubota B7100, and a 48-horsepower Holder A55F diesel logging machine.” Guess what, the $3,100 Quadractor “was able to “outlog” the $5,200 Kubota and just about hold its own against the $25,000 Holder!” Have you heard of the Quadractor?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    What author could have possibly written this up? Scotty G.? Hmm, it figures. As with many of Scotty’s contributions, no, I haven’t heard of it. Seems pretty primitive with belt drive ( wonder what those 10 foot V belts might cost) and cable steering. If one of those breaks, you’ll be “cork screwing” your way home. Looks like more of a crop tender, and looks like this would sink like a stone in mushy stuff. I think I’ll take the Clark Trackster.

    Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      So, it really is true that Scotty can’t help but like the weird stuff.

      Funny thing is, I find this little rig strangely appealing too.

      Keep bringing on the oddities, Scotty. They add a lot of interest to the boring muscle car listings. (JK about that last part, I like MC’s a lot)

      Like 19
  2. ChebbyMember

    It looks like a crazy redneck made a Bigfoot pedal car.

    Like 16
  3. KSwheatfarmer

    I’m sure those tires are not big enough to get through the ice,snow,mud,slop we are now dealing with.I fed cows all day yesterday with a New Holland T-V 140 equipped with 18.4-38s on all four corners and it was all it could handle.Strap a log under this thing and I don’t see it going any where.

    Like 6
    • Rick McKee

      Yeah I agree, it is not large enough to carry enough feed for even my small herd of Longhorns. So I am a bit puzzled why I would like to have it.

      Like 4
  4. IkeyHeyman

    Now this is cool. At first I couldn’t tell how big it was, I thought it was a kiddie-car.

    Like 8
  5. Darrun

    These were built near my hometown, by the Ravens Corp in Marietta Ohio after Spence sold the right to them. I remember several of them for sale in this area during that time.
    Ravens also operated a large trailer manufacturing facility in nearby Elizabeth WV.

    Like 6
  6. Mark

    Askin 2600.00 seems way cheap for the quality work of this machine, plus it works and could be useful for many.

    Like 7
  7. mark

    Great write up! “I would have basically no use for it other than to drive it around the yard and maybe haul brush or gardening tools or something, but still, I want one”……………….Classic.

    Like 11
  8. PDXBryan

    Wow, that is cool but I’m always a little leery of belts and pullies on the farm.
    Traction Inc sounds awesome, especially having their own hydropower! Used to be that populations centered around energy sources like falling water. Now we live and manufacture in all kinds of absurd places thanks to the wonders of fossil fuels.

    Like 5
    • Oingo

      Was featured on a car resto show?

      Like 0
  9. Fred W

    I don’t think there is any doubt where they got their styling inspiration from…

    Like 13
  10. Paul JacksonMember

    I am the “proud” owner of 2 of these. I saw an ad on C/L of a tangle of sheetmetal and had to have them. These fit right in with my rusty collection of odd and weird vehicles. One I’d like to rebuild original and the other do in hydraulic for the intermediate drive, then belts to the corners

    Like 3
  11. Del

    Barn Finds finds a new low.😙

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Not really. This could actually be found in a barn. Ferraris and Mercedes Benz limos is where I draw the line on a Barn Find.

      Like 6
  12. ScottMember

    Keep bringing the cool and unusual stuff!

    Like 4
  13. Chuck

    Since I owned a Kubota B7100 back in the day, I’d sure like to know how it matched up with the Quadractor. Mine had 4 wheel drive, with a locking rear differential. Just the weight of the Kubota, (1080# plus driver) was certainly more that the Quadractor would weigh. The Kubota should have been able to pull this Quadractor all over the place! Just my thoughts!

    Like 2
  14. Mike Lussier

    This is actually true. I live approximately 40 miles from the original Vermont factory. I did more than one walk around them as they were being built. I have many time wondered where they ended up. Each time I travel through that village.(North Troy,Vt) I look to see if there’s any hiding behind some building. The units are a mark of wonder.If you lift them off the ground they steer easier and are serviceable. Any one who has one today should do it justice by running parades and shows. Hey! You never know.

    Like 4
  15. Little_Cars Saul

    The comments about belts and pulleys on the farm is spot on. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve come upon a tangle of chicken wire or woody stalks in the middle of an otherwise barren 12 acres of hay. They tend to spring up when you run over them with four wheelers like this. Thankfully it looks like they are all hidden from below with the Quatractor shell.

    Like 0

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