In the early 1930’s, Prof. Dr. F. Porsche began design work on the “people tractor” right along with the design of the “people car”. Eventually, both designs materialized into historical products that are still enjoyed by thousands of people today. Porsche Diesel tractors finally went into production in the 1950’s and included 1, 2, 3 and 4 cylinder versions. The 1 cylinder “Junior” was a favorite amongst small farms. Approximately 1000 Porsche Diesel tractors of all sizes were imported to the USA until production ceased in 1963.
This particular Junior was born on 12 August, 1959 and immigrated into the US in 1960. It worked its way across the US and was found retired under a tree in Yuma, AZ. It was purchased by Sal Fanelli, owner of Porsche-Diesel USA, and returned to the East coast. Sal did a complete, faithful restoration of the Junior to return it to show-room condition. Today, it’s very happy to be here for you to enjoy, knowing it will never sit in the hot sun, a rain storm, or a frozen field again.
Sal believes in Dr. Porsche’s words, “Those lucky enough to build a business out of a dream owe it to the world to be the caretakers of dreams” and continues to find these tractors and bring them back to life.
Porsche has been in the automobile business for nearly a century, with early designs dating back even before the 1931 founding of the Porsche engineering office. With the company’s wild success in the production of racing and street cars, it is easy to overlook its relatively brief stint in the creation of tractors. In 1956, Porsche built a new manufacturing facility at the old Zeppelin factory in Fiedrichshafen-Manzell, and by 1963, more than 125,000 Porsche tractors were produced with many still in operating condition today. The company produced four basic variations including the Junior, the Standard, the Super and the Master; the Juniors featured one-cylinder engines and each variation gained in size up to the Master’s four cylinders. The company’s innovative use of a hydraulic coupling between the motor and transmission allowed the tractors to have a gentle engagement, and the Junior’s well-thought out system left for a very flexible and functional tractor. The 108 is classified as one of the many versions of Juniors with its single-cylinder air-cooled diesel 822cc engine. With 14 BHP at 2,250 RPM, the power produced by the 108 delivers surprising torque and speed despite its understated size. But even innovation and impressive power were not enough to sustain Porsche’s foray into the tractor market. Porsche’s tractor production ceased in 1963 for myriad reasons, among them the failed attempt to successfully break into the U.S. market. With approximately only 1,000 Porsche tractors sold in the U.S., it was eventually determined that competition with American-built tractors was too strong to contend with. Today, Porsche tractors are still a rare find on U.S. soil and even world-wide, making this Junior Porsche Diesel a truly exceptional find.