Dick Kruse, Ladoga, Ind., is proud of his Minneapolis-Moline tractors. He likes this 1956 UTS model well enough that he displayed it at the 2019 Indiana State Fair in Pioneer Village.
Kruse helps in Pioneer Village from time to time. He also is a tractor drive enthusiast. Sometimes you will find him driving a Minneapolis-Moline on a tractor drive. At other times he might climb aboard a 1950s vintage two-cylinder John Deere or a 1960s vintage Allis-Chalmers D-17. Like this Minneapolis-Moline, the D-17 is a propane-powered tractor. Allis-Chalmers placed the propane tank sideways in front of the steering wheel.
“They’re economical to operate,” Kruse says. Especially in the 1950s and 1960s, propane was economically priced. If you’re laying it in for grain drying this year, you may not agree.
According to tractordata.com, Minneapolis-Moline made the Model U from 1938 to 1948 as a row crop tractor in one style, amd then changed serial numbers and produced variations of the U through 1957. A 1957 Model U listed at $3,200.
The company produced 11 variations of the U from 1948 through 1957 production, including this UTS, or standard-front model. There was even the UTIL, an industrial model with shuttle shift, and the UTIL-M, made just for the military.
The UTS propane model featured a 4.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. The company claimed 31 hp off the drawbar, but in Nebraska tractor tests, it produced 41 hp. It was rated at 42 hp off the PTO by the company.