John Deere 420

The John Deere 420 stands out as a special and unique tractor among its contemporaries and even within the broader world of vintage tractors. Several key features and characteristics contribute to its distinctiveness:

Versatility: One of the most remarkable aspects of the John Deere 420 is its unparalleled versatility. It came in various configurations, including General-Purpose, Standard, Hi-Crop, Special, Utility, and Crawler versions, each tailored to specific farming needs. This adaptability allowed it to excel in a wide range of tasks, from plowing fields to operating specialty equipment.
Quality Craftsmanship: John Deere has a longstanding reputation for producing high-quality agricultural equipment, and the 420 is no exception. Its robust construction, durable materials, and precision engineering were a testament to John Deere’s commitment to excellence in manufacturing.
Engine Options: The availability of three distinct engine types—gasoline, all-fuel, and LP gas—set the 420 apart. This variety of power sources allowed farmers to choose the most suitable option for their specific requirements, making it adaptable to different fuel availability and cost considerations.
Limited Production Run: The John Deere 420 had a relatively short production span, with production occurring between 1956 and 1958. As a result, it is considered a collectible item due to its relative scarcity, especially when compared to tractors with more extended production histories.
Historical Significance: The 420 emerged during a transformative period in American agriculture. It played a crucial role in the transition from traditional farming methods to more mechanized and efficient practices. Owning a John Deere 420 is akin to possessing a piece of history, representing a time when farming was undergoing significant changes.
Distinctive Appearance: The classic green and yellow color scheme, along with the iconic John Deere logo, gives the 420 a distinctive and recognizable appearance. Its aesthetic appeal adds to its allure as a collector’s item.
Mechanical Ingenuity: The tractor’s engineering features, such as its 2-cylinder engine, unsynchronized gear transmissions, and power take-off (PTO) capabilities, demonstrate the innovative thinking that went into its design. These mechanical aspects make it fascinating not only from a historical perspective but also from an engineering standpoint.
Cultural Icon: John Deere as a brand has become synonymous with American agriculture. The 420, being a part of the John Deere legacy, embodies the spirit of American farming and the values associated with it. It has a cultural significance that extends beyond its practical utility.
Collectibility: Due to its limited production and historical importance, the John Deere 420 has become a highly sought-after collector’s item. Enthusiasts and collectors prize it for its rarity, historical value, and unique place in the world of vintage tractors.

General Information
ManufacturerJohn Deere
TypeUtility tractor
Production LocationDubuque, Iowa, USA
Original Price (1958)$2,300
VariantsThe 420 had various configurations, including General-Purpose, Standard, Hi-Crop, Special, Utility, and Crawler versions, each with several wheel configurations.
Engine Details
Engine TypeJohn Deere
Displacement113 cubic inches (1.9 liters)
Bore/Stroke4.25 x 4.00 inches (108 x 102 mm)
Air CleanerOil bath
Compression Ratio (Gasoline)7:1
Compression Ratio (All-Fuel)5.15:1
Rated RPM1,850
Firing Order1-2
Starter Voltage6 volts
Coolant Capacity11 quarts (10.4 liters)
Transmission Details
ManufacturerJohn Deere
TypeUnsynchronized gear
Gears (4-speed)4 forward and 1 reverse
Gears (5-speed)5 forward and 1 reverse
Drawbar Power (Tested)26.15 horsepower (19.5 kW)
Belt Power (Tested)28.31 horsepower (21.1 kW)
Mechanical Details
DriveTwo-wheel drive
SteeringManual (Power steering optional)
Operator StationOpen
Tractor Hitch
Rear Hitch TypeI
Power Take-off (PTO)Rear PTO (live)
Rear PTO RPM540
Front Tires (Agricultural)Various sizes including 5.00-15, 6.00-16, 7.50-16, and 7.50-10 (single)
Rear Tires (Agricultural)Various sizes including 9-24, 10-24, 11-24, 11-26, 12-26, 13-26, 12-28, 10-34, 10-38 (hi-crop), and 11-38 (hi-crop)
Length114.75 inches (291 cm)
Width55.5 inches (140 cm)
Height58.75 inches (149 cm)
Weight3,250 pounds (1,474 kg)
Serial Numbers (by Year)
Electrical Details
Battery Voltage6 volts
John Deere 420
The John Deere 420, produced between 1956 and 1958, is a highly regarded and collectible tractor model with significant historical value in the world of agriculture and vintage machinery.

The John Deere 420, often affectionately referred to as the “420 Fleet,” is a coveted collector’s model among enthusiasts and historians of vintage tractors. This iconic piece of agricultural machinery represents a pivotal era in the evolution of farming technology in the mid-20th century.

One of the standout features of the John Deere 420 is its remarkable versatility. With various versions available, including General-Purpose, Standard, Hi-Crop, Special, Utility, and even Crawler variants, the 420 was designed to cater to the diverse needs of farmers during a time of agricultural transformation. Its ability to adapt to different tasks made it a crucial workhorse on farms across America.

The John Deere 420 is an embodiment of John Deere’s commitment to innovation and quality. Powered by a 1.9-liter 2-cylinder engine, it offered reliability and efficiency that revolutionized farming practices during its production years. The availability of gasoline, all-fuel, and LP gas engine options showcased John Deere’s dedication to providing choices for farmers.
John Deere 420
What sets the John Deere 420 apart as a collector’s gem is its rarity and historical context. With a limited production run spanning just three years, these tractors have become increasingly scarce over time, making them sought-after treasures for collectors. The 420’s serial numbers, ranging from 1956 to 1958, mark an era when the agricultural landscape was rapidly evolving.

The tractor’s mechanical characteristics, including its unsynchronized gear transmissions and power take-off (PTO) capabilities, speak to the ingenuity of its design. Collectors admire the craftsmanship and engineering excellence that went into creating this workhorse.

The John Deere 420 also holds a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate its design aesthetics. Its classic green and yellow color scheme, along with its distinctive features, make it a visually appealing addition to any vintage tractor collection.

Owning a John Deere 420 is like possessing a piece of agricultural history, a tangible link to the past when American farming was undergoing significant transformations. Collectors value these tractors not only for their mechanical prowess but also for the stories they tell about the evolution of agriculture and the innovation that drove it forward. As a collector’s model with historical value, the John Deere 420 is a testament to the enduring legacy of John Deere in shaping the agricultural world.

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