John Deere Letter About Allis-Chalmers


Here is some tractor history that Allis-Chalmers and John Deere enthusiasts can get interested in. The word in the AC world  is that John Deere was rather pleased when Allis-Chalmers finally stopped making tractors on December 6, 1985. Rumor has it that John Deere was so thrilled that it (whoever “it” was at Deere & Co.) sent out a letter to the dealers shortly after. What did this letter say verbatim? That is the million dollar question. Allegedly it had essentially said that John Deere could finally breathe a sigh of relief that its orange competitor was out of the game.

I have looked into this before, and I came up empty-handed. I contacted John Deere and asked them if any such document was sent out. They said they had no record of it. I am opening the case back up for further investigation. I have my own thoughts about this letter.

When I first heard about this letter a few years ago, I had to grin. I am an AC enthusiast and to hear that John Deere was afraid of Allis-Chalmers until the very end was music to my ears. Since I began investigating this again today, I am starting to have my doubts about it. I can believe that JD sent out some sort of letter, but I have my doubts that it was about one competitor shutting down. It just doesn’t add up. Why?

  • John Deere was ahead of Allis-Chalmers- why would they worry?
  • Other names, bigger in the tractor market than AC, were going out! What about International Harvester?
  • Would John Deere REALLY send out a letter about this?
  • Why have we not seen a document yet or heard more about this?

I don’t want to discredit the letter, but I do have my doubts. We need more substantial evidence then just some hearsay information. I have emailed John Deere about this subject again. I have also emailed some John Deere dealerships and asked them if they recall a letter or have any information about it. I will follow-up with any information I find out about this. The John Deere dealership owners should know or remember this. I am really looking forward to solving this rivalry mystery. If you have any information about this, please comment.

3 thoughts on “John Deere Letter About Allis-Chalmers”

  1. In 1985 Deere was selling essentially the same tractor they introduced in 1960 when they put the popping Johnny out to pasture. The 4020 was nothing but an improved 4010, and the 30 series was nothing but a 20 series with new sheet metal, a Sound Gard body, and a high low transmission. The 40 and 50 series were (and still are) good tractors but they were essentially rehashed versions of the exact same machine with a 466 engine (and in the 50 series digital gauges and new power-shift with more operating speeds).

    Deere probably breathed a sign of relief when Allis ceased production because Tenneco had dropped the IH 88 series and was selling Case tractors painted IH red. With the innovative new tractors that IH and Allis had brought to market in the early 80s suddenly out of the picture they knew they could keep on selling the same basic tractor design for a few more years, and they did for nearly a decade.

    When Deere finally introduced a redesigned tractor in 1992 it was pretty obvious that Deere’s engineers were looking at the Allis 8000 series when they designed it. Deere is a very successful company and one reason is because they let other companies do most of their R&D for them. Deere basically copied the Massey Ferguson 300, 410, and 510 combines when they designed the 3300, 4400, 6600 and 7700 in 1970, and continued with the same basic combine design for two decades. Deere also let the competition perfect rotary combines before trying to build one themselves.

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