1971 Case 1070 Black Knight Demonstrator

Looking back into history, all tractor manufacturers had big hoopla introductions. J.I. Case was no exception and one of their biggest was, “Intro 70,” the introduction of the 70 Series tractors for … drumroll please… 1970. Intro 70 happened in August of 1969 at the former Bong Air Force Base (named for legendary WWII/ Korea fighter pilot and Medal of Honor recipient Richard Bong) north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Among the tractors introduced were the 1070 series, an evolution and update of the somewhat problematic 1030.

Photographed at the Rietzel Brothers auction in 2018, this ‘71 1070 Black Night was showing its age but was still a good-looking rig. Informally, it seems the Case 1070 is the most common Black Night model, as there are many survivors. Our research did not yield a breakdown of the models given the Black Night treatment. This one has the standard 8-speed manual and not the Power Shift 12-speed.

The 70 Series ushered in a great deal of hoopla for Case, among them final drive improvements and slick new cabs. The cab was isolated on rubbers, had a cab air  filtration system and a built-in ROPS frame. The final drive selection included an improved version of the previous 8-speed unit and a 12-speed power-shift unit. Other features included a single shaft, dual speed PTO, power brakes and steering.

The engine was basically the same direct injected 451 cubic inch six that had been introduced in 1969, but it was up in power from the previous 1030 model.

The 1970 Golden Opportunity

With the 1970 hoopla came a new sales program called the Golden Opportunity. Case styled special demonstrators to help sell the new 70 Series. Officially called Golden Demonstrators, they featured special black and gold paint accents and “Demonstrator” on the cab above the doors, if it was ordered with a cab (most did). In addition, they were optimally tuned to provide the best possible performance. Over the years a myth has emerged that the tractors were super tuned at the factory to make more power. Case historians in the know dispute that, saying they were merely optimally weighted, broken in (reportedly for 25-50 hours on a dyno), properly adjusted, and used the exact right tires to show off the tractor in the best light.

At the working end, we can see the Cat II hitch, dual speed PTO and the Case signature rear mounted tank. Case was just about the first to install tanks in the rear, which added some weight over the tractor tires. They were also one of the first, if not the first to use poly fuel tanks instead of steel.

Potentially, any 770-1470 Case 70 Series was available as a Gold Demonstrator but each dealer was given an opportunity to provide input on which model tractor demonstrators would be best for their area. Often, the demonstrator was left with a farmer to try out for a few days. At the end of the sales year, after they had acquired a minimum of about 200 hours, they would be sold to a customer. It’s said each dealer was required to have one but reportedly some got several. Some sources list the production of 1970 Golden Demonstrators of all types was 550 units.

1971 Demonstrator

The 1970 program had been very successful so it was continued into 1971 with a couple of alterations. In ‘70, the cabs were left Desert Sunset but for ‘71, they were painted satin black. As a result, these Demonstrators got the semi-official  “Black Knight” moniker. The program was similar but reliable sources say compact tractors and even certain lawn tractors could also be ordered as Black Knights. The Black Knights were sold into 1972 with as many as 2,500 built.

70 Series and 1070 Evolution

XThe 70 Series underwent an evolution for 1974, but it was primarily. Case found the market better in the larger sizes, so discontinued the 770 and 870 models. Bear in mind that by this time Tenneco had acquired control of J.I. Case and had also acquired David Brown of England. David Brown filled in the line from the smaller end and the American made tractors held up the bigger end. For 1974, it was decided to homogenize the line by blending the Case and David Brown colors. Replacing the Desert Sunset color was the David brown white, henceforth called Power White. David Browns had their bellies painted a dark blue-gray, but a shade of red similar to the Case Flambeau Red was used on both brands and called Power Red. The black stripes were continued, though modified. New models were added to the big end of the lineup during this period as well.

In the Case collector world, a Golden Demonstrator or Black Knight is highly prized and valued. Being one definitely adds a premium to the price. As a result, they are occasionally counterfeited. They were equipped with a special badge indicating the dealer two which the unit was delivered, this one being Steger Tractor & Equipment Sales, an old Case dealer in Steger, Illinois. We could find little else on the history of this unit but whoever had it kept it very original.
The Case 451 was one of a home run series of direct injection engines that debuted in 1969. Case was just about the last engine manufacturer to use the Lanova cell IDI system. The new DI engines used similar lower end architecture, but the new head design unlocked a lot more horsepower, The 451 can trace it’s lineage back to the 377ci engine of the early ’50s. The 377 was based on a 5-in. stroke, seven-main lower end that used three cylinder heads. The 377 became 401 for the ‘60-70 30 series tractors by a bore enlargement and the 451 (4.375in. bore) replaced the 401 in ‘69. A larger 504 debuted at the same time, as well as turbocharged version of the 451 and 504. The 504 had larger crankshaft journals than the 451 (3.0-in. rods and 3.5-in. mains vs 2.75 and 3.0in.), a much larger bore 4.625 vs 4.375, and larger 1.8-in wrist pins (vs 1.625).

The 1070 had a burly big brother, the 1090. It was essentially a heavy-duty 1070 designed for rice farming in the south. It had the same engine and power output but Case added a stronger differential, a more burly drawbar and hitch, stronger front axle and a few more improvement. Those improvement also formed the core of the  new turbocharged 1170 model with 20 more horsepower and a outboard planetary gears on the final drive.

If the other features don’t give it away as a Black Knight Demonstrator, these block letters certainly will. Because Case was really pushing their new cabs in this era, not many Demonstrators were open station.
This was top-of-the-line luxury in 1971. Farmers were having to do more acres with fewer people and thus more hours behind the wheel. A comfortable place to work was vital.

The Flambeau Read/ Desert Sunset 1070 was built from the 1970 model year through 1973, after which it was built in Power White and Power Red through 1977, It was replaced by the similar 2090 late in 1978. Total production of 1070 from ‘69-78 was almost 22,000 units, about 65 percent of them built in the Power White/Power Red era. Many tractor fans think this era is one of Case’s best.



1971 Case 1070 Demonstrator

Engine: 6-cyl, DI Case D451
Displacement:      451 ci
Bore & Stroke: 4.375 x 5.00 in.
|*Rated PTO Power: 108 hp @ 2100 rpm
*Rated Drawbar Power: 90.77 hp @ 2100 rpm
Compression Ratio: 16.5:1
Transmission: 8-speed (4×2)
Weight: 8,240 lbs. (bare)
Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.
Tires:     Front: 11.00-16
Rear: 20.8-38
*Fuel Consumption: 7.1 GPH @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 13,116 lbs. w/max ballast
*Top Speed: 15.8 mph
*As Rated by Nebraska Tractor Test 1067


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1971 Case 1070 Black Knight Demonstrator

Looking back into history, all tractor manufacturers had big hoopla introductions. J.I. Case was no exception and one of their biggest was, “Intro 70,” the […]