With thousands of viewers the world over, the great hive mind of The Autopian is something that cannot be ignored. The higher-ups at this fine website have acknowledged this fact by providing a handy “tips” tab at the top of the page you’re scrolling right now, allowing any reader to offer up automotive content that other car-crazed loons like yourself might enjoy. You saw an El Camino limousine with Gucci branding on the sides? Send in the pics! Footage of some Karen in a Cayenne stuck on one of those red spheres in front of Target? Bring it on! A lovely, touching road trip story of two friends reconnecting on a road trip? Well, does the car blow up en route? No? Then forget it! Just kidding. Anyway, we’ll certainly take a look at whatever crap you’ve got.
As odd as you would expect these submissions to occasionally be, we were still taken aback by one “tip” that was submitted a week ago:
Whoa! Did you want to order a pizza, too, guy? How do you answer this strange query? I see three possible replies. The first (and correct) response is to ignore it. The second response would be to tell this gentleman that The Autopian does not, in fact, produce anything other than rather pointless stories about things like diesel motorcycles and eating food in cars; a far cry from physical tractors. The third solution would be give this kind sir the “different tractor machine” that they desperately need, which would make no sense for us to do.
You already know which direction were going to go, don’t you? Let’s begin.
The Different Kind Of Tractor Machine
The tipster that emailed us obviously gave a pretty definitive description of the kind of tractor they were looking for, primarily that it needs to be “different” and a “machine.” OK, so not a lot to work with. Naturally, this request leaves us rather open to our interpretation of this vehicle, which is fortunate since the build-a-car-from-scratch skills of the Autopian staff are pretty limited.
We were all rather inspired by a story from Jason a little while back about the Powell vehicle from the 1950s. Here was a brand ‘new’ truck straight-out-of-Compton (no, they really built it there) that was literally built from old Plymouths dragged out of junkyards.
This is the ultimate upcycling story and easy to understand once we Midwesterners see California cars with zero corrosion whatsoever. This odd production process seems almost perfectly Autopian, so we would employ the same idea for our new ‘tractor.’ The question is, what car would we steal end-of-life examples from junkyards to make into ‘tractors’? What is plentiful, durable, and relatively cheap? A fair number of choices I can think of, but decade-and-a-half old Corolla accident-write-offs seems like a great choice. David probably passes dozens of these things on every junkyard trip that he takes, so if he could bring back a couple examples each week to one of Beau’s facilities and hide them under tarps rather easily.
Under cover of night and with Autopian T shirts draped over the security cameras, David could roll one of these sad, dinged-up little Toyotas into the shop each evening. Headlamps, fenders, hood and doors would all go into the dumpster (or Facebook marketplace), and David would then fire up the cutting torch.
After slicing the roof just aft the windshield and the floor right behind the front seats, he could then weld on a steel structure to the sills with a “roll bar” and little legs sticking out of the back. A giant, single rear wheel bolts onto these legs, and by sunrise Mr. Tracy has a three wheeled rolling “tripod” base for this new tractor.
The (Sort Of) Finished Product
David could source some tough looking fiberglass components to replace the hood and front fenders; rattle canning any exposed structure in flat black would make the old Corolla completely unrecognizable. Waterproof seat covers and rubber floor mats fight off the elements. There’s a high intensity light bar option, as well as wheel choices.
The end result is the Farm (or Fun) Utility Car-based Tractor, or FUCT (pronounced FOOKED like you have a Scottish accent):
You might not believe it, but some of the first tractors were made with a three wheeled layout like this; even John Deere offered such a design in the form of the Dain tractor. The Glasgow Company made their own three wheeler to navigate the wet, rough Scottish countryside. High manufacturing costs eventually caused tractor makers to turn to the more cost effective two-wheels-in-back format; obviously that might not have been the case if these people had old Toyotas to cut up, right? Damn, you really hang off the back of these things, don’t you?
There’s also small three wheeled lawn tractors that use this layout today:
We’d offer several versions of our Different Tractor Machine, the FUCT. For real cheapskates, the DT1000 model wouldn’t even have a rear suspension. The more complex MT2000 takes the left or right hand rear suspension components from the old Corolla and mounts it to the rear structure for a better ride (but less load capacity). The JT3000 is the ultimate model that could offer two side-by-side rear wheels (but then it’s technically a four wheeler); there’s even a JTS3000 “Signature” Edition with special black-and-gold paint scheme and the autograph of one of The Autopian’s founders on the Corolla dashboard (“Don’t Stop Dreaming…Jason Torchinsky”). Here is the “catalog” our tipster requested:
Putting It To Work- Or Play
What could this “tractor” actually do? Since we were given so little to go off of, we determined that a ‘different’ kind of machine might be something smaller that non-farmers might find useful; almost like a big lawn tractor. You could mow or aerate the lawn, maybe till some soil. In the winter you could wrap a canvas-and-vinyl top over the roll bar and windshield to stay warm while you plow the driveway. You could add a front end loader as well; if you’re afraid of the thing tipping forward then counterweight in the form of fillable water tanks on the back would do the job.
What about when the workday is done? Do you just park it? No, that’s when the fun begins. The Corolla was a street legal car before it ended up at pick-a-part, so why not take it out on the roads again? The little Toyota was hardly the last word in driving excitement in stock form, but chopping off nearly a thousand pounds of weight and having no doors or roof would likely make it a hoot to drive. On the street or in mild off road situations, our “different tractor” would become sort of a more useable Polaris Slingshot; almost a second car. Need your tractor to do more than a typical tractor? Then go get FUCT!
We have yet to hear back from our tipster to see if this “different tractor machine” is what he had in mind, though I’d like to think he’ll be pretty stoked at the result. If so, we’ll hit the salvage yards shortly and make his dreams come true.
Do you have a need for some kind of specialized vehicle from the Autopian team? There’s a “tips” tab right up top- use it!
Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines The Tesla Of Ride On Lawn Mowers – The Autopian
How Our Daydreaming Designer Would Turn A Scion xB Into A Delightful Camper – The Autopian
The Daydreaming Designer Shows How To Make A Budget Tiny House From A Broken RV – The Autopian
Our Daydreaming Designer Creates The Minivan Of Motorcycles – The Autopian
If some lunatic actually shows up to a meet in one of these, I don’t think I’ll be ok
There were kits used to turn old Model A Fords into tractors. They were called ‘Doodlebugs’. My great grandfather farmed with one. They had an extra gear reduction and larger tires.