1964 Minneapolis Moline 602E
The M-Series Minneapolis-Moline tractors debuted in 1960, replacing the 5-Star tractors of the late 1950s in the middleweight tractor role. It was not a particularly good time for Minneapolis-Moline (M-M), as it was not for many of the legacy tractor manufacturers. International Harvester, Ford and John Deere were taking a lot of the air out of the room and the nearly 100 year old M-M was not particularly fast on it’s feet dealing with a rapidly changing market. Nor did they have a big research and development budget to market something whizbang enough to make them a market leader. Despite all that, they still put out solid products and had a loyal foundation of repeat buyers, so they hung on and gasped for air.
The M-Series Begins
The M-Series was M-M’s new mid-sized four cylinder model and sported a new look, a few new features and a power boost… at least in the gas models. It was joined by the M-504 for ‘62, which became M-M’s smallest four-wheel drive offering. They were essentially the same tractor, but the M-504 had a driving front axle. Midsized tractors were the volume models so they did well for M-M, as they did for everyone. They were not particular stand-outs in any sense but they were a dependable tractor with most of the things farmers wanted. One thing that set them a little apart was the availability of four-wheel drive, but buyers had not yet come to regard that option as a vital enough feature yet to pony up for the extra money.
The M-Series Evolves
For 1963, the M-5 Series evolved into the M-6 line. The changes were mostly cosmetic. The M-6 consisted of two primary versions, the M-602 rear drive tractors (in many configurations… stay tuned) and the M-604 four wheel drive. This would mark a period when many of M-M’s tractors lines would be offered in two and four-wheel drive with similar model distinctions. The new M-6 line would be largely the same as the M-5, with some styling and feature changes and a little bit of a power boost for some units… at least on paper. Because our feature tractor is an M-602, we’ll focus our detail presentation on that model.
The M-602 had the option of LPG, gasoline and diesel engines, all displacing 336 cubic inches and having the same general architecture. The 336 shared the same 4.625 x 5.00 bore and stroke as the 504 cubic inch six cylinder. Both the 336 and 504 were over-bored by a whopping 3/8-inch from the previous 283 four and 425 six. All these engines were a legacy design that dated back to the 1930s. Slow-revving, heavy and stout, they all delivered peak power at 1500 rpm.
M-M had been fairly late onto the diesel bandwagon, having placed big (losing) bets on LPG in the early 1950s. When they went diesel, they did the same as many others and went Lanova. The Lanova combustion chamber offered a very gentle diesel cycle that most lower ends designed for gasoline could handle, so the buy-in to diesel power was relatively inexpensive to produce.
The M-602 line was offered as a fixed wide tread standard (M-602), a tricycle with dual fronts (M-602U), a single wheel (M-602N), or with a wide adjustable front axle (M-602E), plus the M-604 four-wheel drive of course. The M-602U, N and E models were designated rowcrops and came standard with a three-point hitch. The E and M-604 models also came standard with two pairs of remote hydraulic couplings.
M-M was right on target with their Ampli-Torque, which allowed clutchless gear splitting of the 5-speed main transmission.
The M-602 did not get a Nebraska tractor test. Most sources say M-M referred to the 1960 M-5 test as being largely the same. In that test, the M-5 delivered 58.15 PTO horsepower and 51.37 drawbar horsepower, both at 1500 rpm. Maximum drawbar pull with about 3,000 pounds of ballast was 6,751 pounds with 14.5 percent wheel slip. M-M literature claimed 64 horsepower on the PTO and 51 on the drawbar for the M-602.
The M-602 models were short lived, offered only for ‘63 and ‘64 to the tune of 4,729 units (1,771 diesel, 1,271 gas, 1,686 LPG). The M-602 were replaced by the very similar M-670 for ‘64. The M-6 line were among the last tractors designed and built by the “pure” Minneapolis-Moline company. In 1963, White Motor Company bought the controlling interest in the company and M-M became a wholly-owned subsidiary of White. White would also purchase Oliver and Cockshutt around this time and soon begin to homogenize production, adopting the most modern designs being built in the most modern factories and badge-engineering to maintain the brands. That branding would disappear when the tractors were lumped into the White brand and the Minneapolis-Moline nameplate would disappear after 1974. But that’s another story.
1964 M-M M602E
Displacement: 336 ci
Bore & Stroke: 4.625 x 5.00 in.
Compression Ratio: 14.8:1
Transmission: 5-speed with Ampli-Torque (5×2)
Weight: 6,550 lbs.
Wheelbase: 101 in.
Fuel Capacity: 22.5 gal.
Tires: Front – 6.00-16
Rear – 15.5-38