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Restored red tractor has history

Tractor Treasures: Here’s why tractor collector Marshall Martin has special ties to this Farmall.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

May 12, 2023

1 Min Read
Farmall F-30 tractor
RED AND READY: This Farmall F-30 once belonged to Marshall Martin’s dad, who used it on his farm in Illinois. That is, the frame of the tractor is the same — the engine was swapped out with another tractor. Tom J. Bechman

If you have red tractors, especially Farmall tractors, 2023 is a special year. Case IH and tractor collectors partial to red paint are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Farmall tractors. The first International Harvester tractor carrying the Farmall name rolled off the line in 1923.

Marshall Martin, West Lafayette, Ind., has several red tractors in his collection. One of his newer additions is a Farmall F-30.

“It’s special because it was my father’s tractor,” he explains. “I grew up on a farm in Illinois, and Dad had red equipment, including this tractor.”

Martin found his way to Purdue University, and spent his career in ag economics, teaching and doing research and Extension. In later years, he assumed administrative duties for the College of Agriculture, and was the liaison between Purdue and many Indiana farm groups and commodity organizations.

“The truth is that the frame of this F-30 was dad’s tractor,” Martin continues. “The original block cracked, and a neighbor found a parts F-30 with a good engine. So, we put that engine in dad’s tractor. It runs well, and the tractor still has tons of meaning for me.”

According to, 28,902 Farmall F-30 tractors were built in Rock Island, Ill., from 1931 into 1939. Martin’s original tractor was made in 1937.

The company claimed 30 hp on the belt for the F-30, and 20 hp at the drawbar. Official tests rated out at 32.8 hp and 24.85 hp, respectively.

The F-30 featured a 4.6-liter, four-cylinder International Harvester engine, and a gas tank holding 21 gallons. It came with a four-speed transmission and manual steering. The F-30 yielded to the iconic M, next in the Farmall line.

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About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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