Vintage car shows offer a wide range for people who love owning and restoring old cars. Such people spend years, along with thousands of dollars, to bring old and beaten up cars to their former glory. Then, they gather at a venue at least once a year to show off their hard work.
Such a car show was recently held in Wichita as well. But this year’s Starbird-Devlin charity car show was different, because most of the limelight was stolen not by a car, but a tractor. This was not just any tractor, however, and its presence in a car show was completely justified.
Meet the UDLX – A Tractor-Car Hybrid
The tractor in question was a restored, yellow, 1938 Minneapolis Moline UDLX, owned by Curtis Rink. This was the first American tractor that came with a built-in cab back in the day. The rarity of this model can be judged by the fact that only around 150 of these were made, and all these models were manufactured in 1938 alone.
The UDLX tractor that became the talking point of the car show is unique not only because it features a cab, but also because of its very car-like appearance thanks to a front grille and full fenders. The tractor can also be driven on the road at a speed as high as 40mph.
A Shaky Past
The tractor that Curtis now owns came to his possession after his uncle, the original owner, passed away. The tractor had been restored a little at this point but sustained much more damage than it already had in a fire in 2008. After this, Curtis finally had the chance to fully restore the tractor as his own.
Curtis thinks that the reason these tractors were made was to promote the company’s take on modern farm machinery. This tractor, he says, might have been pitched as the best one out there and its design would have been used to lure customers.
However, due to the high price of the UDLX, the company’s experiment didn’t last for long, which is why only a limited number of such models were ever made. The original UDLX tractors were priced at $2,155. Only about 90 of these tractors are left in the world now, which makes them a collectible item for many automobile lovers. The value of these car-like tractors can be assessed by the fact that one of these sold for a whopping $200,000 last year at an auction sale in Michigan.
A Lot of ‘Car’ Inside
While the frame of the UDLX is that of a conventional tractor, the acceleration and braking systems are that of a car. It has a separate throttle control mounted on the dashboard to allow for field work. The UDLX also uses a 5-speed transmission unit that can be made suitable for driving on the road with the help of a lever. There are a lot of other elements inside this tractor that make it more like a car than any other out there, justifying the amount of hype this UDLX tractor generated after showing up in a car show.