1961 Minneapolis-Moline GVI

At the dawn of the 1960s, Minneapolis-Moline (M-M) had an aging but well-regarded line of heavyweight tractors that had evolved from a 1938 model. That original  model GT was a big wheatland style tractor with a 403 cubic inch four-cylinder gasser and it established itself as a player in the standard-tread tractor market. In 1942, as the United States went into full blown war mode, the GTA emerged with only a few updates. Not many were built as M-M production moved to war priority items. M-M tractors in this era had a military and jeep connection that crossed into agriculture and they relate to this story.

Tall and upright is the stance of the G-Series tractors. That’s typical for a fixed tread, standard tractor built for the amber waves of grain in the northern Midwest USA and southern Canada. At a bit over 8,000 pounds, it was certainly a heavyweight in the era. It could carry another 4,000 pounds of ballast as needed. The two headlights were standard as were two rear-facing work lights. It was quite a while before M-M turned this basic platform into a rowcrop. This tractor belongs to the Bergman family and is one of several Minnie-Mo tractors in their extensive collection. It was shot at the Tri-State Engine and Tractor Show. In fact, for 2022, Minneapolis-Moline will be the featured tractor at the August 24-27, 2022, show in Portland, Indiana, so if you want to see more Prairie Gold tractors, be there or be square. SPECIAL THANKS TO BRIAN GONYEA

Moline in Green

In 1938, development of a M-M four-wheel drive artillery prime mover began. It was originally based on the U-Series tractors, which were smaller than the G-Series. The project soon morphed into something bigger and though it was ostensibly still a “U-Series” it was much more. Tests in 1939 showed the U-Series 283 cubic inch four-cylinder didn’t have the suds for an artillery tractor. By 1939, M-M had begun production of a new 425 cubic inch six-cylinder that made 70 horses and it was perfect for the prime mover project. With this new engine mated to the U-Series 4×4, the UTX artillery tractor was born.

Six UTX were built for tests, four of which were used in 1940 at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, during tests with the Minnesota National Guard during their annual maneuvers. At this time, the UTX acquired the nickname “Jeep” because like the character Eugene-the-Jeep in the Popeye-the-Sailor comic strip, it could do almost anything. The UTX didn’t go into production and while the rest of this story is fascinating, it doesn’t involve diesels. We have marked the appearance of the 425 engine, so we move on.

The Big Moline Evolves

Following the war, that 425 six-cylinder needed a home. It found one in the GTB line for 1954, specifically in the GTB-D. The “D” for diesel… go figure! With a Lanova style combustion chamber and a Roosa-Master injection system added, the 425 gas six adapted well to diesel. A Lanova diesel version of the 293 cubic inch four had debuted in 1952 in the smaller UTS-D and marked the first production M-M diesel. The GTB-D evolved into the GBD for 1955 and the GVI replaced it for 1959 as an update.

The working end of the GVI showing the standard swinging drawbar and optional PTO. A 3-point lift is not listed on the GVI options list. That is typical of a wheatland tractor by this time, though most manufacturers already had begun offering the option of a 3-point on this class of tractor. On the left, just below the platform, and above the step, is a toolbox. On the right is a rack for an optional hydraulic cylinder for use on various equipment that needed one. When switching implements, you removed the cylinder and hung it, uncoupled, hitched up to the new implement, attached the cylinder and off you go.

So, yeah, the GVI was not a new tractor, rather it was a new presentation and evolution of the G-Series wheatland. You had the choice of a propane-fueled engine, or a diesel. The diesel and LPG produced almost identical outputs at Nebraska, in the realm of 78 horses on the PTO and 66-67 horsepower on the drawbar (without ballast). A PTO and swinging drawbar were standard but power steering was an option.

The D425 was a Lanova cell diesel that went back to 1953. It was based on the gas 425 that debuted in 1938, sharing the same bore and stroke. The cylinders are parent bore, cast in pairs and bolted separately to the crankcase, with a separate head for each pair. There were only four main bearings but they were big bearings (2.91-inch diameter main and rod journals). The diesels had larger rod journals and wrist pins than the gas engines. It was a very big engine, so you could say, “Who needs front weights when you have an engine hanging out up there that weighs nearly 3,000 pounds.” This engine had a very long existence, running from 1938 to 1971, very near the end of the Minneapolis-Moline name.

The GVI proved to be a good pattern for more evolution. Before it’s run ended in 1962, the G704 debuted… which was the same tractor with a front driving axle. At the end of 1962, the G705 (4×2) and G706 (4×4) took over and this time it was more than a designation change. They were upgraded with a bigger engine. By boring the 425 a whopping 3/8-inch, they created a 504 cubic inch Lanova diesel that could spin up to 1600 rpm and was rated at 101 PTO ponies. For the first time, M-M power went past the century mark. You can read about the G706 model on the Diesel World website at www.dieselworldmag.com/diesel-tractors/split-personality/.

Typical of a wheatland style tractor, the operator’s station is entered from the rear and fully protected at the front from chaff and dirt by full fenders and other tin. It has a suspended seat that looks comfortable by 1959 standards. About the only “convenience” listed was a standard cigarette lighter. The GVI came with a hand operated clutch.

All in the Name

Every once in a while, all manufacturers have gone down a model naming rabbithole. The GVI, also seen expressed as G-VI was in that realm. Trying to exude a little class, they adopted the GVI moniker… the “VI” being Roman numerals for “6.” Apparently, it went right over the heads of most buyers and at least one recent tractor column writer who needed to be educated on the topic.

Power steering was standard on the GVI, driven from a pump attached to the engine directly. Note also the Roosa-Master injection pump.

The Moline Fade

M-M was swept up by White in 1963. Over just a few years in the same timeframe, White had also gobbled up Oliver and Cockshutt. All these companies were struggling for market share and vulnerable to “offers you can’t refuse.” White consolidated the model lines significantly but maintained the brands by mixing up the surviving models and rebranding them across the three badges. The progeny of the GVI survived into 1972 as the G1350 and that was that. The Minneapolis-Moline name survived to 1974, when White debuted a whole new line of tractors under their own name and discontinued all the other brands.


1961 Minneapolis-Moline GVI
Engine: M-M D425
Displacement: 425 ci
Bore & Stroke: 4.25 x 5.00 in.
Flywheel Power: 85 hp @ 1500 rpm
*Rated PTO Power: 78.49 hp @ 1500 rpm
*Rated Drawbar Power: 67.02 hp @ 1500 rpm
Compression Ratio: 14.9:1
Transmission: 5-speed
Weight: 8,335 lbs.
Wheelbase: 96.19 in
Fuel Capacity: 38 gal
Tires: Front- 7.50-18
Rear- 15-34
Tires: 11.00-16 (front)
20.8.4-38 (rear x 2)

*Fuel Consumption: 5.49 GPH @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 9023 lbs @ 14..9% slip (max ballast)
*Top Speed: 17.1 mph

* As Rated by Nebraska Tractor Test 792


Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show



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