Four-wheel drive tractors became commonplace in the 1980s. Valmet 702S was among the first ones

1983 Four-wheel drive tractors became commonplace in the 1980s

4WD since 1969

Although four-wheel drive technology existed a hundred years ago, it was introduced on tractors only in the 1950s and did not become commonplace until the 1980s. In Europe sales of four-wheel drive tractors grew by almost 10 percentage points a year during that decade, and it was not long before they accounted for over half of all new tractors sold.

Valmet introduced its first four-wheel drive agricultural tractors, the 900-4 and 1100-4 models, in 1969. Five years previously the company had presented a four-wheel drive articulated terrain tractor that was designed primarily for forestry work.

With the arrival of the next 02 model series, four-wheel drive was introduced for the first time on a larger model, the 1102-4. These models were used primarily for contracting work thanks to their size and features. The turning radius was limited by the location of the universal joint on the side of the chassis frame. At that time rear-wheel drive tractors were sufficient for ordinary farming tasks by using twin wheels and adding weight to the driven wheels, for example using wheel weights or by filling the tyres with a saline solution.

Four-wheel drive was introduced on Valmet’s smaller agricultural tractors in the late 1970s. It was first made available on the 702 and 702S models. These were more agile than previous four-wheel drive models, as the universal joint was moved to the centre of the tractor and at the same time into a more protected position inside the chassis frame. Customers also appreciated the weight of the new models.

At the start of the 1980s Valmet introduced a three-cylinder four-wheel drive model: the 602-4. The tractor’s turning ability was increased by using smaller wheels, allowing the four-wheel drive tractor to turn in tighter spaces.

A year later Valmet introduced its new red tractors. While the very smallest of these, the Valmet 504, was only available with rear-wheel drive, while the larger Valmet 905, 2005 and 2105 were only available with four-wheel drive. Alongside other tractor manufacturers in Europe, Valmet now offered four-wheel drive across the range for the first time.

The Valmet 1100-4 was an extreme machine in 1969: 4WD, a four-cylinder turbo engine and 115 horsepower.

The Valmet 1100-4 was an extreme machine in 1969: 4WD, a four-cylinder turbo engine and 115 horsepower.

Valmet 702S

Agricultural tractor Valmet 702S.