The Literature Rack
Ford Combines by Claas
by Gordy Schultz
This month I thought I would share the sales literature on Ford/Claas combines I have come across. These pieces are probably something most collectors have not seen before.
I was inspired to share the Ford combine sales literature by Jay Schuline’s Oak Grove Farm Display on Toy Talk. Jay uses only Ford equipment and was featured in The Toy Tractor Times July 2005 issue. Even Jay’s combine is Ford. Many would ask did Ford make a combine? Yes they did.
This months Literature Rack looks at the combines offered by Ford in the 1970’s and on into the 1980’s. Ford did offer a red combine in the 1950’s built by Oliver. As Ford grew into a full line farm equipment company in the seventies they began to look for a combine. This time Ford turned to Claas the German Combine and Forage Company. Today Claas is well known for its Lexion Combine sold by Caterpillar Ag dealers in North America.
In the early 1970’s Ford contracted with Claas to build two combines. These blue combines were the 622 and the 642. These combines would have competed against the John Deere New Generation combines like the 3300 and 6600, International 315 and 815, Gleaner E and M.
- Grain Headers: 11,13, or 15ft
- Corn Headers: 2 and 3 row
- Grain Tank: 90 bu
- Engine: 256 cu. in. 75 hp Ford four
- 642 Specifications
- Grain Headers: 13, 15, 17, 19 or 22ft
- Corn Headers: 4 and 6 row
- Grain Tank: 130 bu
- Engine: 361 cu. in. 152 hp Ford V-8
Ford had an 11 page brochure on the 642 and 622. This is a nice piece showing the combines in corn and sorghum. It of course also shows the combines unloading grain into Ford trucks. In the later 1970's the 622 combine was dropped and only the 642 was offered. The late 70's Ford 642 remained unchanged expect for the engine. The Ford V-8 was replaced by a 380 cu. in 127 hp Ford 6-cyl. engine. Ford offered a piece of literature on the later 642 that features the combine in winter wheat on the cover.
In the 1980's Ford divested its out sourced lines of equipment. Plows, disks, harrows from White and Pittsburgh Plow company, hay equipment from Ghel and the 642 combine from Claas were dropped by 1982. Ford like Case began to focus solely on the production of tractors during the depressed ag market of the early 1980's. Ford dealers still needed a full line of equipment to compete with John Deere, International Harvester and Allis-Chalmers dealers. Claas was still interested in marketing its combine in North America. This situation lead to Ford blue Claas combines.
Claas of America opened headquarters in Troy Michigan where Ford's Tractor Division was based. Claas painted its Dominator 76, 96 and 106 combines at its West Germany headquarters in Ford blue for the American market. The combines did not bear the Ford name or engines like the 622 and 642. The Claas name was put on the combines and a large decal in front of the Claas name "MARKETED THRU FORD DEALERS". The Dominator 106 and 96 were powered by Mercedes diesel engines and the 76 used a Perkins. These combines were built to compete with the John Deere Titan Turbo series, International Axial-Flow 1400 series and the Allis-Chalmers Gleaner N series. The Claas blue literature is 22 pages and shows all three combines shelling corn. Most likely Claas wanted to show customers these combines were not just European wheat machines but hardy American corn combines too. To top of the corn image the combines are shown unloading into Parker gravity wagons.
Dominator 76 Specifications
Grain Headers up to 19ft
Corn Headers up to 6 rows
Grain Tank: 120 bu
Engine: 121 hp Perkins
Dominator 96 Specifications
Grain Headers up to 22ft
Corn Headers up to 6 rows
Grain Tank: 150 bu
Engine: 160 hp Mercedes
Dominator 106 Specifications
Grain Headers up to 25ft
Corn Headers up to 8 rows
Grain Tank: 185 bu
Engine: 220 hp Mercedes
The need for blue Claas Dominator combines only lasted for a few years. In 1986 Ford reentered the combine market when it purchased Sperry-New Holland's hay equipment and combine line. The New Holland TR86 and TR96 combines were fitted with Ford engines and soon began to appear at Ford-New Holland dealers. Claas remained in the North American market with limited combine success and a growing market in self-propelled forage harvesters. In the late 1990's Claas teamed up with Caterpillar to build a combine in Omaha, NE to produce the Lexion combine for North America. The Lexion has had a strong market share in yellow.
The Ford combine literature is a unique item and can be found on E-bay for $10-$15. The Claas blue combine literature is a harder find and often brings upwards of $75.