Persian Orange is the color, with Cream accents. Despite fairly large numbers produced, the D-15 is a fairly rare tractor today and A-C collector Alan Snyder is happy to have such a nice one. His 1961 Series 1 diesel is equipped for row crop work, as many were, with the Roll Shift adjustable wide front axle, Power Shift Rear wheels, PTO, Snap Coupler 3-point, hydraulic remote and Power Director.

1961 Allis-Chalmers D-15 Series I

Allis-Chalmers went all out in 1957 to start a total refresh of their tractor lineup. The first to appear in the new line was the D-14. You could call it a light middle weight tractor, big enough to be the main tractor on a small farm and small enough to be a utility tractor on a large farm. It made 34 belt horsepower from a 149  cubic inch four cylinder gas (or LPG) engine. It was part of a newly designed engine family for A-C, but no diesel was available for the D-14 at that time so we move on.

A-C Diesels Hit the Dirt

More relevant to Diesel World  readers was the 1960 D-15, which was an evolution of the D-14. Besides some styling and color scheme changes, the big news was the availability of a 175 cubic inch, four-cylinder diesel. It was called a “3-plow” tractor, which was a very subjective advertising way of describing drawbar power. Following shortly after the D14 had been the D-17, six cylinder tractor, which did have an NA diesel option, and you could call the D-15 the D-17’s little brother.

Persian Orange is the color, with Cream accents. Despite fairly large numbers produced, the D-15 is a fairly rare tractor today and A-C collector Alan Snyder is happy to have such a nice one. His 1961 Series 1 diesel is equipped for row crop work, as many were, with the Roll Shift adjustable wide front axle, Power Shift Rear wheels, PTO, Snap Coupler 3-point, hydraulic remote and Power Director.

In 1961, the Ahhhnold version of the D-17 joined the lineup, the turbocharged D-19. We talked about the D-19 in the July, 2018, issue of Diesel World (see it on the website at and how it was the first production turbocharged tractor. Well, the D-15 didn’t share a turbo with its Big Bro, but the D-175 four-cylinder diesel was a four cylinder version of the D-17 and D-19 D-262 six cylinder. All were Lanova cell diesels that had originated with Buda. Allis-Chalmers had absorbed Buda in 1953 giving them an in-house engine factory. The Buda name was gradually retired and so were the Buda-Lanova engines. The D-15, D-17 and D-19 were among the last tractors to use them and Allis Chalmers was well on its way to going direct injected on the remainder of the line.

D-15 Details

The D-15 Diesel was offered in seven basic configurations starting with a wide-front, rowcrop-style tractor with power shift, adjustable tread rear wheels and an adjustable width front axle. A dual-wheel narrow front axle was also offered. The D-15 was offered in an orchard style, what A-C called a Grove Tractor. There was a D-15 equipped for rice fields and two high clearance models, one with a single front wheel and one with a wide front. A-C also offered an industrial version of the D-15 Series 1 tractor, which featured a solid, fixed-width tread front axle, non adjustable rear wheels and the Shuttle Shift transmission (read on).

A-C had a proprietary 3-point system they called the Snap Hitch. They sold a wide variety of implements that were set up to use it and they were one of the easiest  systems to hook up. Combined with the A-C Traction booster draft control, people who know the A-C system had good incentive to use orange implements. You could set up the A-C tractors to use other brands of equipment but it’s been said that nothing worked behind an A-C tractor better than an A-C plow. Alan had a few of the snap hitch pieces removed when we shot it so you aren’t see the whole shebang here.
The operator station was typical of the era and designed for iron men. Still, the control layout is well designed and easy to use.

The D-15 was well equipped in the gearbox department, with a 4-speed main gearbox and a partial power-shift system A-C called the Power Director. Controlled by a hand lever, it had three positions, direct, neutral and low. The neutral position was used when you needed all the PTO and hydraulic systems to work. You could go from direct to low, and vice versa without using the clutch. It was a durable unit, being bathed in oil and having brass clutch plates.

The end of an era. The D-15 was near the end of the line for the Buda-Lanova engines that had debuted in 1934. They debuted in A-C WD-45 tractors for 1954, the year after “Big Orange” bought the Buda Engine Company. The D175 was a 4-cylinder evolution of the D262 six, which itself was an evolution of the original Buda 6BD-230 that had come about 1946. The D175 was a wet-sleeved, five-main engine with 3.56 inch bore and a 4.37 inch stroke. A Roosa Master rotary pump was used. The Lanova cell was a boon to diesel manufacturers in the 1920s because it offered a very gentle combustion process and engines could be downsized considerably. By the 1960s, the gentle Lanova combustion chamber was more of a power limiter than anything. It was a quiet and economical diesel but very limited in potential output. On the flywheel, the D175 could make a maximum-rated intermittent 49 horsepower at a very modest 2200 rpm. For continuous use, A-C limited them to 38 horsepower at 2000 rpm. By the time the ‘70s rolled around, Franz Lang’s 1923 air cell invention was pretty much relegated to the history books, though many manufacturers had licensed and used it.

You could get a base tractor without a Power Director or you could order one with a Shuttle Shift that replaced the Power Director but allowed forward and back clutch-less shifting for loader tractors. Power steering was optional as was a belt drive adapter for the PTO.

The D-15 came in two series. The Series 1 was built from 1960 through 1962. The Series II started for ‘63 and ran through ‘67. For the diesel Series II models, there wasn’t much difference mechanically for the Series 1… it used the same Lanova cell diesel. The gas engines were updated in many ways. The cosmetics changed a bit and they are easy to tell apart. The Series I have cowl-mounted headlights and a metal “Allis-Chalmers” badge on the hood, with a “D-15” badge back on the fuel tank. The Series II had a white stripe along the hood side with the brand and model on it and the lights are mounted on the rear fenders, which also differ slightly in size and shape.

Beyond the limitations of the Lanova cell engine, history had judged the D-15 “a good tractor.” Both Series D-15 served A-C well, with the Series I selling to the tune of 7,169 units (868 wide front diesel and 83 narrow front), and the Series II 12,419 (all types). After the last were sold in 1968, there was not a direct replacement for it in the lineup. For 1969, A-C tapped Renault for a tractor. It became part of the new Hundred Series line and was called the One-Sixty. Powered by a 152 ci, 3-cylinder Perkins diesel making 40 horses.


1961 Allis-Chalmers D-15 Diesel   

Engine: 4-cylinder, A-C D-175
Displacement: 175 ci
Bore & Stroke: 3.65 x 4.375 in.
Flywheel Maximum Power:  49 hp @ 2200 rpm
*Rated PTO Power: 36.51 hp @ 2000 rpm
*Rated Drawbar Power: 30.18 hp @ 1997 rpm
Compression Ratio: 15.5:1
Transmission: 8-speed (4×2)
Weight: 4,220 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 16 gal.
Tires:       Front- 5.50-16
Rear- 12.6-26

*Fuel Consumption: 2.871 gph @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 5,737 lbts @ 14.35 % slip
*Top Speed: 15.3 mph

* As Rated by Nebraska Tractor Test 796


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