Ford Track’ter: 1941 Ford N9 Tractor

031816 Barn Finds - 1941 Ford 9N 1

Even though I’m a lifelong fan and aficionado of old tractors, I’ve never seen one of these before. Although, I’m sure that one of you has. This is a 1941 Ford 9N tractor and it will be at auction on April 1st. No fooling!

031816 Barn Finds - 1941 Ford 9N 3

The Ford 9N tractor was made from 1939 to 1941 and improvements were so rapid that at the end of 1941 they renamed this series of tractors the 2N. This one is highly unusual in, well, you can see why it’s unusual. A company called Elenco made a 4WD conversion kit for tractors that used a driveshaft powered from the transfer case and a modified axle in the front giving them incredible traction. Of course, adding tracks such as on this tractor would be even better for a lot of situations. The maximum horsepower at the belt pulley would be about 23 and it weighs a little over 2,300 pounds. It doesn’t seem like much, but this tractor with a 4WD conversion would probably pull the average tract house off of its foundation. Maybe even without a 4WD conversion, come to think of it…

031816 Barn Finds - 1941 Ford 9N 2

I can’t tell from these photos if this tractor has that exact conversion or not, but from this angle I can see something that looks like a driveshaft behind the wheels. Here’s a 1958 Ford 8N with an Elanco conversion and tracks. The 9N series was the first to have a three-point hitch and a rear power take-off, both revolutionary designs at the time. There isn’t much information on this particular tractor other than it’s in excellent condition and it has overdrive. The rear wheels look a bit different from what 9N wheels should look like and I’m wondering if this one has been modified or if it is a different model. Without a serial number listed there is no real way to tell. But, these would probably sell in the $5,000-$6,000 range in this condition without the 4WD conversion, who knows that it’ll go for with it. Are you a fan of old tractors or are you strictly an old car person only?

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Comments

  1. DENIS

    I grew up with those old tractors…wasn’t allowed to use the big ‘uns til age 10…I hauled the grain to the elevator…thought I was haulin’ ass when I got her in road gear and overdrive on the return trip….still love ’em

  2. L.M.K. Member

    Love old tractors and really love this one a lot !

  3. Howard A Member

    Thank you, Scotty, do I ever love old tractors! When I had cable, the “RFD-TV” channel, (kind of a farm channel for us hicks) had tractor auctions, and featured tractor collections. Some guys have like 50 tractors, for heavens sake. And all shapes and sizes, all meant to do a specific job. And all business with old tractors ( no cup holders here) However, ( sorry Scotty) this is not a front-assist ( not 4wd) 9N. I believe that middle axle is just a bogie for the track. The “Elenco” front-assist would look like this.
    http://www.oldfordtractors.com/ffca2004/2004-3.jpg
    You can see, it looks a lot like a 4wd truck. The featured tractor is just a regular 9N, ( or something, never got the #’s right) The farm I live/work at has several tractors, including an 8N, my favorite. So simple, and still runs good. It’s a 1949, I think. It was the guys grandfather’s 1st tractor. And for you nay-sayers, if you don’t find THIS in a barn, I give up. Another cool “SG” find.

    • Scotty G Staff

      Hi Howard, I included a link to a 1958 Ford 8N 4WD with tracks, you can see the front axle on that one. But, I can’t tell if the ’41 model above has the front drive axle or not since there isn’t a photo of the front end of it.
      Thanks for the kind words!

  4. boxdin

    If you carefully double clutch these you can shift while underway. My first driving experience !

  5. grant

    As an occasional naysayer, I’ll say this is cool, and a barn find if there ever was one

  6. Rex

    Thanks Scotty! We had one of these on our farm (farm was sold in the early ’70’s). Ours was rear wheel drive but with the half tracks the thing was unstoppable!
    We lived in souther Lancaster County in PA,in those days if you owned a farm and it snowed you had to help open the roads for the milk trucks,my Dad and my Uncle cut up a hugh metal tank and built a V-blade that attached to the front end loader and then they built a push bumper for the front end of my Uncle’s “960” Ford tractor and a bumper for the 3 point hitch on th 8N.
    My Dad would plow and my Uncle would follow,if the 8N started to slow down at all my Uncle would ease up against the back of it and push,the idea was to keep speed up to throw the snow farther to the sides………..it worked great.
    I believe what you are looking at is in fact the “idler arm” for the “idler wheels” and not a driveshaft………..the arms bolted on in place of the fendwrs and had heavy coil springs to keep tesion on the tracks…….it was quite a set-up.
    The last time I was able to visit our old farm one of the idlers was still sitting in the meadow under a tree where we used to “hang” the loader when we took it off the tractor for the summer.The tires are as you state much taller than what I remember being on our tractor.
    Thanks for the memories……………..

  7. Rob

    Yep, tractors are cool, ‘n an absolute necessity when ya got farming or ranching chores.. This is our 40s, not a Ford, but reliable just the same, an old Ferguson :)

  8. Michael

    From what I’ve read, the Fergie was the first and they ‘loaned’ the design to Ford. If you look, you can se that the Fergie has OHV–TaDaa! Mine also has 4 speeds and some fords only have 3 AND a flathead!
    I find that I need weights on both ends for traction or I’ll dig a hole with the rear tyres OR do a wheeley–kinda unsettleing when you’re looking at the load and find the front end is 5 feet in the air!
    I read that they have Triumph/Standard engines but haven’t opened mine up to see. HMmmm! I have a TR- 3 intake and SU’s~~
    I have a 8N, I believe if someone wants it but I’m about 10 miles from the Pacific ocean so you’d need a small car trailer to collect it–how about $1500?–typical “ran when parked”

  9. Paul R

    These little Fords changed the way America farmed. Inexpensive and could be maintained with minimal mechanical knowledge. They were actually quite powerful for their size. Many of them are still in service today. I have a 9N that runs great and gets used often.

  10. z1rider

    “The Ford 9N tractor was made from 1939 to 1941 and improvements were so rapid that at the end of 1941 they renamed this series of tractors the 2N.”

    Ummm, not exactly. Certainly improvements were made over time, but the reason for changing the model name to 2N had more to do with the de-contenting necessitated by the material shortages that resulted from WWII. The 2N lost the footboards, replaced by footpegs any motorcyclist would be comfortable with. I believe it also traded the battery ignition and generator for a magneto, and that allowed for elimination of the headlights. And lastly I think most if not all had steel wheels.

    The next major change was to the 8N which put both brake pedals on the same (right) side, a 4 speed trans, improved steering gear, and wheel studs originating much closer to the center of the wheels which allowed for a more conventinal hub. Later it would also get a conventional side mount distributor.

    • Rex

      z1rider,do you know when the added the high/low range trans with the shift lever on the left side down on the side of the transmission?
      Ours had foot pegs and both brake pedals on the right side.

      • z1rider

        I think the transmission you refer to is the Sherman, which would have been a dealer installed option. My 8N has one. The Sherman was sort of sandwiched between the engine and stock transmission and would either overdrive the input shaft to the transmission or provide a reduction.

        If your tractor had footpegs AND both brake pedals on the right I will have to admit I don’t know what year that would have been. I was under the impression the brakes were not consolidated to the right until the 8N, but footpegs says 2N to me.

  11. Charles

    Never seen one with tracks.

  12. Harvey

    That is NOT 4 wheel drive. The “axle” you see is an idler setup to hold the small wheels in front of the big ones. that way the tracks have something to go around. This setup was for supreme flotation in soft ground or snow. Made by either Bombardier in Canada or ARPS. Still used the front tires to steer but ya might have to use the individual brakes to help make a corner. Not a high speed affair. Mind you, top speed was only 7 or 8 mph anyway.

  13. jim s

    that auction company has auctions coming up with a lot of interesting vehicles and road art. i drove a 8n. not sure i would want to work/sit that close to those moving tracks. to easy to get pitched off of a tractor. great find.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi jim, yeah, farm safety has always taken a back seat. Spinning shafts and little or no brakes. Like Harvey sez, these tracks were for slow going, and common sense is the rule around farm stuff. Probably the most dangerous part of this setup was taking the tracks on and off. As far as art, some tractors had real style. The “Minnie-Mo” UDLX is the most sought after tractor. In many cases, it doubled as the family car.
      http://www.agriculture.com/uploads/assets/promo/external/tractorbrackets/MinnieMoUDLX660x440.jpg

      • jim s

        i would love to see one of the UDLX’s in person. thanks

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