For several decades now, the Turcotte family from Île d'Orléans, owners of Vergers Turcotte and Ferme Avicole Orléans inc. proudly wear the Porsche crest by collecting Porsche-Diesel and several other vintage tractors. The Porsche Quebec Center team would like to thank them for their generosity in exhibiting their magnificent tractors at events of all kinds.
Member of the Exceldor Cooperative, the Turcotte farm is an example of passion and pride, having been ranked first in the Gold category of the National Order of Agricultural Merit.
The story begins in 1938 with the idea, like the Volkswagen, of a tractor for the people.
Ferdinand Porsche has always been interested in agricultural equipment. It was one of his first passions when Europe was still predominantly agricultural: he then thought of developing a machine capable of replacing horses and oxen. His first "tractor" in 1914 was an artillery tractor.
In order to power German agriculture, Adolf Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche talk about a people's tractor. It is a concept similar to the people's car, in order to allow small German farms to take advantage of the motorization. Hitler declared: "Why not an inexpensive tractor, produced in the assembly line".
From November 1937, the development of the “Volksschlepper” (people's tractor) was officially launched. It was not until January 1939 to see a first rolling copy. The first prototypes will all be gasoline powered while a diesel engine is developed. Special feature of these tractors: the hydraulic coupling between the transmission and the engine. It was believed at the time that peasants would have difficulty using a clutch.
In its notebooks, Porsche notes several imperatives: “The tractor must have a low price. Second, it should have a low maintenance cost. Third, it should have universal use. As well as being powerful, reliable and robust. "
Development began on November 24, 1937 and continued for over a year. The first copy was presented in action in January 1939. A total of seven versions were produced. The research is carried out in association with the Hohenheim Agricultural School where Porsche engineers experiment with various technical solutions, various types and sizes of engines, various gearboxes and various attachment systems for agricultural equipment which are tested in the farms around Stuttgart. Some prototypes had a V-cylinder engine, others had in-line cylinders, some were two-stroke, others four-stroke.
In 1937, a prototype resembling a kart with an air-cooled 12 hp V-twin was born from these studies.
The association with Allgaier to produce Porsche tractors
However, the project will come to an end and the people's tractor will never go into production, the war having changed many industrial projects, each turning to the production of military equipment and the tractor no longer a priority. Once the war is over, things change and the need for agricultural equipment increases in proportion to the drastic decline in military production. Ferdinand Porsche is considering relaunching his tractor project, but a law prevents him from doing so: to produce this type of machine, you have to prove that you have already produced it before the war.
To overcome this problem and to mass-produce the Type 313 designed in 1948, Porsche will turn to a producer of agricultural equipment eager to launch a modern, reliable and robust tractor, Erwin Allgaier. In Austria, a similar agreement will be made with the company Hofherr Schrantz. This is simply a licensing agreement, as Porsche is not a shareholder of the signatory companies. For Ferdinand Porsche, this is a good way to bring in cash at a time when the financing needs are more and more important for his Porsche 356 originally built in Gmünd.
After the war Erwin Allgaier of the Allgaier Werke company, an agricultural tool builder and sheet metal manufacturer from Baden-Württemberg, became interested in the people's tractor project. In 1949, after a common agreement released the Allgaier Porsche 17 with two cylinders and 18 hp.
From 1949, Allgaier produced tractors under the name AP 17 (for Allgaier-Porsche). In 1950, demand was such that Allgaier was forced to expand, buying the old Dornier aircraft factory near Lake Constance. The engines for the AP17s are all produced by Porsche, and they are diesels. In 1951, the firm produced 5,000 tractors. That same year, Ferdinand Porsche died. The production of tractors by Allgaier will however continue, and from 1952, Porsche enlarges its production line of engines for tractors. The models follow one another: A111, A122, A133 and A144, without counting a tractor specially dedicated to the cultivation of coffee in Brazil, with its narrow tracks. Export then represents more than 35% of production.
Resale to Mannesmann
However, competition is increasingly fierce on the German market, and Allgaier, after a market study, decides to refocus on the manufacture of sheet metal parts and machine tools. Porsche is not giving up the game after 30,000 tractors produced between 1949 and 1955 as the license gives it enough to finance its growth. The solution will be found thanks to Mannesmann, one of the largest industrial groups in Germany. Mannesmann bought its facilities and the Porsche license from Allgaier for 28 million marks in 1956. A new company, Porsche Diesel Motorenbau GmbH, was created, a 100% subsidiary of Mannesmann and without a capital link with Porsche.
From now on, the tractors will be called Porsche Diesel, while the engines will be manufactured in-house. For this, the factory is enlarged and the tools modernized. For the new tractors, we obviously call on Porsche, responsible for design and development. In 1958, Porsche Diesel sold 11,000 tractors, going from 6th to 2nd place on the German market! A new range has developed, covering many niches: Junior, Standard, Super and Master, ranging from twin to 4 cylinder 50 horsepower.
Until 1956 were produced tractors including the famous A 22 called hot water bottle.
Renault enters the ball
Despite all these efforts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain their market share. Demand is certainly strong, but competition is still fierce and the investments required are increasingly important. At Mannesmann, we quickly understood in the early 1960s that we could not compete for long with the American specialists (Ford, New Holland) or the European offensive (Lamborghini, Fiat and even Renault) with low-cost tractors. The decision was taken in 1962 to stop the activity. An agreement was reached with Renault: the company Porsche-Diesel-Renault Vetriebs GmbH was created (owned by Renault) for the marketing of the last stocks produced up to 1963 and the maintenance of Porsche-Diesel tractors. A total of 130,000 tractors were produced between 1949 and 1963.
Today, collectors are snapping up Porsche tractors. Normal because the collection market for collector's agricultural equipment is proving to be increasingly important and they are one of the few (along with Lamborghini) to wear a prestigious coat of arms.
- 1934 Initial design and production of three test vehicles.
- 1937 Request from the German government for the production of a people's tractor.
- 1950 Allgaier begins production of the AP 17, an aluminum tractor with a Porsche design, an 18 horsepower air-cooled two-cylinder.
- 1951 Ferdinand Porsche dies.
- 1953 Start of the green Allgaier tractors, range of 4 models of 11, 22, 22 and 44 hp. Allgaier stops production of its water-cooled models.
- 1954 Record sale requiring large production resources. 1956 New means of production in Friedrichshafen-Manzell in the former Dornier / Zeppelin factories.
- 1956 Production of a new line of red Porsche-Diesel tractors: Junior, Standard, Super and Master (14 hp, 25 hp, 38 hp, 50 hp)
- 1957 Production of 11,000 units and export of around 6,000 units; agreements with Deutz to share various parts.
- 1958 Production of around 20,000 tractors: Porsche-Diesel ranks second among tractor manufacturers in Germany behind Deutz.
- 1959 Evolution of tractors with new versions and increased power 15-20-26-30-35-55 hp.
- 1960 Production of 10,000 units and export of around 6,000 units; appearance of a Bosch hydraulic system, aesthetic adjustments and regulation system.
- 1962 Mannesmann AG decides to discontinue production of Porsche-Diesel tractors.
- 1963 The last tractor is produced at the end of the year, however many tractors were assembled in the open, because the manufacturing facilities were used to produce light diesel engines for NATO tanks.
Several tractor models were built, with one to four cylinders.
Each type of machine was available in several versions:
- N = normal version (also called K, kurz)
- V = stripped version without lifting in particular. This version can be recognized by the sticker that replaces the brand's emblem.
- S = narrow version (schmalspur) intended for wine and horticultural operations.
- L = long version intended for hanging implements under the tractor.
The Porsche Junior was a single-cylinder and the least efficient tractor.
The Porsche Standard had a twin-cylinder engine.
The Porsche Super was the tractor with a three-cylinder engine.
The Porsche Diesel 419. was the most powerful tractor available with its four-cylinder engine.