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h e n t h e c o u ntr y entered the mu s c l e t r ac t o r e r a, M as s e y w a s a l i t t l e b e h ind. T h e y h ad p u t t he i r f o c u s o n s ma l l an d me d i u m si ze t r ac t o r s b u t bi g i r o n w as o n t he mo v e . W i t h o ut t i me t o d e si gn a nd p u t i n t o p r oduc ti o n a mo d e l o f t he i r o w n , M as s e y t u r n e d t o o t he r s man u f ac t u r e r s t o p r o v i d e t he m w i t h a h i g h er horsepower t r ac t o r u n ti l t he y w e r e r e ad y t o bui l d their own. Massey began a relationship with MinneapolisMoline in 1958 when they purchased tractors to sell in Canada and in the export market. Massey didn’t have a tractor big enough for the wide, open prairies of Canada and they had a strong customer base in that area. So they contracted with MM to buy the GB and GVI in Massey clothes. Sales were strictly limited by MM to make sure they weren’t selling against their own tractors. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 ISSUE 007


...this tractor was truly a MinneapolisMoline, Massey did have their own specifications. They wanted the tractor to look like those of their own fleet.

with a built-in governor. The Lanova combustion system used an energy cell located directly across from the injection nozzle. As the air is compressed, it is forced into the energy cell. The heat of compression ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber and then forces it into the energy cell. The explosion in the energy cell forces a high velocity stream of burning fuel and gases back in to the combustion chamber. was the G705 and G706. The In 1959 Massey turned G705 was two-wheel drive and The swirling fuel and air is to Oliver to provide a high thoroughly mixed for complete the G706 was the front wheel horsepower model that could and efficient burning. The be sold in the US. For this they assist model. Massey provided proven 504 CID engine was, for used Oliver’s GM powered 990. drawings of what they wanted the tractor to look like and MM the most part, a good engine. While this was a good model, engineers gave their G models a The LP model proved to be it was more money than the more fuel-efficient than the Massey user was accustomed to Massey twist. This new tractor diesel version. This engine was would become the Massey 97 paying for a tractor. Plus, GM and replaced the Massey 95 and MM’s first engine to break the engine parts weren’t available 100 HP mark with 101 belt HP. the Massey 98. through the Massey dealer The earlier Massey 97’s The Massey 97 was rated as because GM wanted the parts a 7-plow tractor and was offered used a swinging drawbar. The sales for themselves, which drawbar would swivel on a created a problem for those who in two different fuel versions. The 504 CID diesel version put perforated support assembly didn’t have a GM dealer close with a swing range of 25 by. Massey’s union with Oliver out 87 drawbar horsepower. inches. These perforations only lasted two years with a total MM was well-known for their locked the drawbar solid when production of 500 tractors plus successful LP engines and backing up. This drawbar was this one put out 90 drawbar three prototypes. used until diesel serial number horsepower. The 6-cylinder In late1962, at a Corporate engine had a 4 5/8” bore and 5” 25202205 and LP serial number Coordinating meeting, the company decided not to continue stroke. Both fuel model engines 25300462. From then on a redesigned drawbar was used. the program of purchasing large were basically the same but The newer had a support the LP engine used a different tractors from outside sources. piston to give the engine a lower assembly on the top and bottom Massey set out to completely of the drawbar where the earlier compression ratio of 8:1. The redesign a new tractor, rather diesel engine had a compression model only had a support than updating the Massey 90. assembly on top. ratio of 14.8:1. Redesign would take four years Even though this tractor was The cylinder head on the but the result would be the MF truly a Minneapolis-Moline, Minneapolis-Moline engine 1100 and 1130. Massey did have their own was cast in pairs. Therefore, In the meantime, Massey had turned back to Minneapolis- there were three heads covering specifications. They wanted the tractor to look like those of their the six cylinders. This made Moline for help. MM had own fleet. The grill was designed servicing the engine an easier excess production capacity and because of their financial status, job. The aluminum pistons in to look like the Massey line. MM was able to use their hood they were willing to negotiate for the diesel engine had an extra additional work. Over the next heavy crown, to hold up to the and fender design, which saved on cost. This was something four years MM turned out 4100 higher pressures. The piston that Oliver was unable to do on had three compression rings tractors with the red and silver the 98. The lights were also the and one oil ring. paint scheme. same as those used on the older The 97 was equipped with The MM model that would Masseys. C.M. Hall provided be used for Massey’s new model a Roosa-Master fuel pump 26 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 ISSUE 007

the lights, which are unique and rather hard to find. The rear lights had a large plastic shell that rotated on two side pins so the light could be used for lighting the work area in the field. Or if the red shell was lowered, it acted as a taillight. Minneapolis-Moline was one of the leaders in the four-wheel drive race. They were nosed out of being the first 4WD tested at Nebraska by Oliver. The Oliver 1800 B was test no. 832 and the G706 was test no. 833 just two weeks later. MM was using the Elwood front wheel drive axle. Elwood Manufacturing was a dealer for MM tractors so it was only natural when they started to install these axles, that they would put them on a MM. This option offered 30% to 50% more drawbar pull under heavy load or in poor traction. When Massey contracted with MM to provide tractors, of course they wanted the option of the 4WD model. This option lasted until mid 1962. At that time MM switched to the Coleman axle. The change was made at serial number 25200506 on the diesel tractors and on serial number 2530096 on the LP models. The Elwood axle used a transfer case with an internal chain drive. The Coleman axle used a transfer case with a gear drive. The Elwood front axle was a military axle that was acquired from the salvage yard close to Elwood Mfg. It didn’t take long for the demand to exceed supply thus the Coleman axle took over. The wheelbase of the 4WD model was shorter than the 2WD version. This increased the amount of weight on the front axle and improved the pulling power when needed. Wheelbase on the 2WD was 96 3/16” while the 4WD model was 84 ½”.

The operator platform was spacious and high for good visibility. The platform consisted of non-skid plating with steps on each side. A large handle on the fender made it safe and easy to get on the tractor. Also incorporated into the fender was a toolbox. The toolbox slid into a tray under the platform and could be used as a drawer or taken completely out and carried to wherever it was needed. The Float-O-Matic seat on the Massey 97 was built by the Bostrom seat company. This comfortable upholstered seat used two large rubber seat springs as well as a shock absorber to give the best ride possible. A threaded lever on the left side made it possible to adjust the seat float based on the operator’s weight. The seat itself slid forward and backward on the frame rails and tipped forward when not in use to shed moisture. There were differences between the early and the late seats so you will need to determine what you have before ordering parts. The early seat used a rubber spring cushion with only one pin protruding from the rubber on the front side. The later seats used a rubber spring cushion with two pins protruding from the front side. Although it’s a minor difference, the backrest on the early seat was ribbed while the later style backrest was smooth. All of the gauges were conveniently located for easy viewing by the operator. The controls were all within easy reach from the seat. The 97 was not equipped with a foot clutch. The 11 3/8” dual disc clutch was hand-operated by a lever on the right side of the transmission. The 7” double disc brakes were operated by individual pedals

There were differences between the early and the late seats. . .



both located on the right side. The parking brake lock was applied by hand when the pedals were depressed. The lock was automatically released when the brakes were applied again. The 97 used a 12-volt electrical system. There were three heavy-duty batteries connected parallel to give sufficient cranking power to the 504 CID diesel engine. On the LP model, only two batteries were required. Since the 97 was a “field tractor” it would be exposed to constant elements. The tractor used dual filtration on both the fuel and oiling system. The oil filtering consisted of two spinon, throw-away canisters. The first fuel filter removed water and large particles and could be drained off periodically. The second filter had a replaceable filter cartridge that trapped the small particles and debris. The LP fuel system had a filter with a removable element to prevent dirt and rust in the liquid fuel from entering the vaporizerregulator. The cooling system had a 50-quart capacity. The water pump was gear driven and a 22” fan cooled the tube-type radiator. The water distribution tube circulated water to the hottest parts of the cylinder

blocks. A recirculation system allowed a small amount of water to circulate even when the thermostat was closed, preventing hot spots and allowing quicker engine warmup during cold weather. The hydraulic system on the 97 was standard equipment. The Webster pump unit had an output of fifteen gallons per minute with 1100-1200 psi. Power steering was also standard equipment on the 98 and this feature used up about four gallons per minute at 900-1000 psi. In the US, this tractor was factory equipped with two levers and Char-Lynn valves and two set of hoses and breakaway couplers so that two remotes could be used. In Canada, this was considered “extra”. The 3 ½” remote cylinders used an 8” stoke. The sliding gear-type transmission provided four field gears, one road gear and one reverse. Since the high torque engine had good lugging abilities, it wasn’t necessary to switch gears once a suitable speed was found. Large implements would require use of the two lower gears while the light implements could be used in the two higher field gears. For highway transport a tops speed of 18.8 mpg was possible at 1650 RPM.


MF 97


1000 RPM 2.1 2.9 3.4 5.0 11.4 1.6


1600 RPM 3.3 4.7 5.4 7.9 18.3 2.6

All of the gauges were conveniently located for easy viewing by the operator. The controls were all within easy reach from the seat.



MASSEY-FERGUSON 97 1962-1965 Built by: Minneapolis-Moline Engine: 504 CID LP or Diesel (MM engine) Approx. Weight: 2WD – 7825 & 4WD – 8600 Diesel Engine Engine Flywheel HP: 108 Belt HP: 92 LP Engine Engine Flywheel HP: 112 Belt HP: 95 Tractor owned by: Dean Zingre Sandwich, IL 1962 Model w/Elwood FWA Serial# 25300094




The 2WD model was available with a Live PTO or less PTO. A transmission driven PTO was available as an accessory and was referred to as “regular” PTO. Early 4WD models equipped with the Elwood front axle did not have Live PTO but could be equipped with the “regular” PTO. The week point of this tractor was the rear end. If weighted down, there was tremendous stress on the bull gears. Those gears were not designed for the high horsepower tractors. Models fitted with the front wheel drive axle were easier on the rear end since part of the pull was done up front. Fortunately, not a lot of large equipment was available to everyone so that problem was limited to those farmers who really pushed the tractor. This model is becoming more collectible all the time. With its long nose, pawing front axle and hefty high-torque engine, the 97 is more than qualified to be one of the early muscle tractors. Since this tractor involves two separate farm equipment companies, the prospects looking for this model are doubled which can only make it worth even more.

MASSEY 97 DIESEL YEAR 1962 1963 1964 1965

STARTING SERIAL # 25200001 25200506 25202005 25203504


YEAR 1962 1963 1964 1965

STARTING SERIAL # 25300001 25300096 25300397 25300399

With its long nose, pawing front axle and hefty high-torque engine, the 97 is more than qualified to be one of the early muscle tractors.




Massey 97  

Sample article from Heritage Iron Magazine, sold out issue 007!

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