IH Cadet Spirit of ‘76 By Scott Urshel
Huntington, Indiana * firstname.lastname@example.org In 1976, America celebrated its bicentennial birthday. There was a special, US minted quarter that year in recognition of this celebration. Many companies offered commemorative products, including IH. IH produced its Scout II with a special bicentennial, Spirit of ‘76 package. The truck was built from a white Scout, with bold red and blue stripes. Additionally, they gave their Cadet 76 lawn tractor a commemorative, bicentennial paint and decal package. This tractor is known as the Spirit of ‘76. Initially, the small Cadet 76 lawn tractor seemed like an unusual choice to use for the bicentennial package. It is believed that this tractor was selected because of the 76-model designation, which correlated with the year. The Cadet 76 lawn tractor was introduced by IH in 1971 as an entry-level, economical riding mower for the homeowner that needed a riding mower but was not looking to spend much money on a larger, heavyduty garden tractor. The Cadet 76 had a 7-hp vertical shaft Briggs and Stratton engine and a belt driven peerless manual transmission. It was painted yellow and white like the rest of the line at that time and it looked like a smaller version of the wide-frame 86 thru 169 garden tractors. In 1975 IH made some cosmetic changes to the Cadet 76 to
LAGC July/August 2008
give it a patriotic look. These tractors did not have a special serial number tag. In fact, they were just circulated into the regular production numbers, which are listed at the end of this article. The Cadet ‘76 was built in 1975 and early 1976 and were painted red and IH white. They had a red frame with a white hood and fenders. The red paint that was used has been debated on several occasions. Most original Spirit of ‘76 tractors appear to have an orangey-red paint job. Some believe that IH painted them with a shade of red equivalent to Briggs and Stratton red, which was the engine color. Others simply use Cub Cadet red paint when restoring a Spirit of ‘76, but this red paint was not introduced until six years later in 1981. The Cub Cadet red paint was used on the ‘82 line of Cub Cadets. Some say that IH used IH 2150 red paint; the same paint as they used on their farm tractors. Long time IH dealer, Clyde Berkshire, claims that IH 2150 is the correct color for the Spirit of 76. Until about ten years ago, he still had a Sprit of ‘76 that was delivered to his dealership, new. He proudly displayed in his vintage store in Royal Center, Indiana. I personally have restored two of these tractors. I trusted Clyde’s word and used the IH 2150 red. There is a good chance that the orangey-red tint found on the original tractors, today, could be from fad-
ing or perhaps from the type primer used. The white hood on these tractors had two rows of five blue stars on the top, and a blue decal with red lettering boasting, “Spirit of ‘76” at the back of the hood. On the front of the hood, in each of the square headlight block-out panels, was a blue stripe, red stripe, and three white stars. The decals on the sides of the hood were basically the standard decals used on the Cadet 76, but with red and blue colors instead of black and blue. Seven blue stars were centered on both the left and right fender. There were two differences that separated a Spirit of ‘76 from a regular Cadet 76. First, the Spirit of ’76 had a white steering wheel with a special center cap instead of the standard black steering wheel with an IH center cap. The other difference was the vinyl seat cover, which was white on the Spirit of ’76 instead of black. These tractors are extremely hard to find. They were built in a limited quantity for a short period of time. Many of them have served their life mowing grass and have been retired to the scrap yard as a light duty lawn tractor. There are, however, a
few more in existence. They sometimes appear at local garage sales or estate auctions. Some owners of these rare tractors painted them yellow and white so that they would look like a regular Cub Cadet. Even in salvage condition, these tractors are quite valuable to collectors and will command several hundred dollars. The IH Cadet Spirit of ’76 is a great little tractor. It is easy to store and to haul. Along with being very rare, it is a real attention grabber.
Serial Number & Years for the Spirit of ’76 28600-31287, Built in 1975 31288-32104, Built in early 1976 Only 3,503 Tractors were built Editors Note: Scott owns one of these rare tractors. In the September/October issue, Scott will take you through the process of how he restored his Spirit of 76 and will have some helpful tips on some hard-to-find parts. - LAGC
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Published on Jul 20, 2011
The Cub Cadet Spirit of '76 is one machine that is highly sought after by collectors. This article by Scott Urshel will fuel your fire to hu...